Is Your Business Ready for the Post-Shutdown ‘New Normal’?

If you lived through the trauma of 9-11, you know that the way we do some things –
such as travel – changed forever. The reality of doing business post-COVID-19 will be no
different, and its reach will be far more impactful.

Unlike the sudden shutdown, reopening may happen gradually and with various
caveats, such as wearing masks, moving work spaces further apart and checking employee
temperatures at the beginning of the work day. Regardless of what government and health
guidelines require or suggest, now is the time to prepare for doing business in the new world of coronavirus, which likely will be with us for many months – or perhaps years – to come.

As you plan for re-entry, evaluate your current practices during the shutdown and
consider which are applicable when you re-open. Create workflows that consider the following questions:

Questions to Ask Yourself and Team

1) What changes have the virus forced upon you?
2) What processes are you doing differently? Which are working? Why? Which are not
working? Why not?
3) How is the virus and shutdown affecting each product or service? Are there special
considerations for some and not others?
4) How are you communicating with employees? Is it the same? Different? Better? Worse?
5) How are you keeping your team engaged and motivated?
6) What is causing your and your team’s stress? How are you handling it?
7) What innovations has your team developed during the crisis that could be implemented
8) How well have you – and team members – handled change? Have new “stars” emerged
who showed greater leadership?
9) Has remote working been a positive experience? Should you continue it at some level in
the future?
10) Has providing flex-time hours been a positive experience? Should you continue it?

Working through these questions and developing new “rules” for each scenario will help
you anticipate your business life in the future. Depending on the size and type of business, you may need to consider different procedures for each division, department or individual

Once you have evaluated your situation and developed your plan for the various scenarios,
you may want to consider reopening your business in phases on a priority basis. Here is one
possible re-entry schedule:

3 Phases to Work Through

 Phase One: Return employees onsite who aren’t able to effectively or efficiently
work remotely because they don’t have all the necessary tools or need to be more
closely managed.

 Phase Two: Employees working well from home are returned onsite as needed and
work on a flexible schedule.

 Phase Three: Employees working extremely well at home can continue working
remotely longer, or they may never need to come into the office daily.

While this unplanned shutdown has been painful and will require us to work differently,
it is providing an opportunity to reassess business practices and make changes that will create a more positive company culture. With the right changes, your team can become more productive, and your business can become more profitable.

For More Information

Shelley Smith is a company culture curator, author and president of Premier Rapport. Culture isn’t built in a day; it’s built every day.

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