By Craig X. Cecilio
It’s a question on the minds of every business owner that has managed to survive this pandemic recession long enough to reopen: How do I re-board my employees and resume normalcy?
Some states are opening sooner than others. National, State, City, and local guidelines vary. Despite what they claim, nobody is an expert because we’ve never done this before! How do you create a safe and healthy workplace as your employees begin coming back to the office? While I am not an expert either, here are five steps we are taking to re-board and post-pandemic-proof our company.
1. REDEFINE NORMALCY
First of all, I don’t believe we will ever be “back to normal” as it was once defined. Just going back to the way things were is potentially dangerous for obvious reasons. We need to adopt a “revamp” approach rather than a “resume” approach.
2. HAVE A PLAN
It may be July before our team begins returning to the office. When they do, we will execute a plan that includes checking body temperatures, providing masks, and transforming our office kitchen into a hand-washing station. Individual coolers will be provided for team members to store their lunch. All of our workspaces are safely-distanced. As in every area of our business, we will follow best practices.
3. TRUST BUT VERIFY
We can control what happens in our office, but what about the building that we share with other businesses? Thankfully, our property management company has implemented safety measures as well. If you are one of several businesses operating in a single building, make sure that you communicate with your property management company to verify they are also following best practices. Otherwise, all of the steps you take will be undermined.
4. GO THE EXTRA MILE
Our plan is that we not only meet local, state, and national guidelines, but that we exceed them. We don’t want to leave ourselves open for any unnecessary liability or have someone developing a serious illness on our watch. Neither do you.
5. EMBRACE TECHONOLOGY
COVID-19 has exposed our personal and corporate vulnerabilities. We have all been forced to go digital and this has been difficult for some businesses. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, made a very progressive and forward-thinking statement by saying his employees may remain working from home forever. Of course, not all of us are able to have our employees work remotely 100% of the time. Each business is different. We have team members that were working in other parts of the country long before the quarantine. Nothing has changed for them. Some positions are more suitable for remote work than others.
Because we all crave human interaction, there can be a loss of energy when we are not able to be in the same room together. Thankfully, we live in a day and age where technology makes it possible to communicate socially without making physical contact. Where possible, continue to use technology to hold team meetings and meet with clients.
Eventually the pandemic will end. This too shall pass. What you do during this time of crisis will define you and your company for years to come. This is a time for your leadership skills to shine.