Earlier this month, businesses started the slow and uncertain process of “re-opening” after the COVD-19 novel coronavirus shut down. This re-opening will be a long process, and nationally we’re just at the beginning. So far, the pandemic shutdown has caused up to a $500 million loss due to canceled events and an estimated million Americans to lose their jobs. Suffice to say its impact is significant and long-lasting.
To achieve recovery from such an event, you need to do re-opening right. As you and your team start to transition and look to ramp up business, the below questions can help direct your re-opening and business development plan.
1. Are we following state and local guidelines?
Since the virus has affected communities to different degrees, each state and, in some cases, city or county, has administered its own regulations. Get educated on your locality’s health and safety requirements and make a plan to adhere to those regulations first. You won’t be able to re-open until you’ve met these requirements.
Most areas are calling for thorough office cleaning (i.e., checking HVAC systems and deep cleaning all surfaces), limiting building capacity to a specified number of employees, wearing masks and/or gloves, and creating a traffic pattern around the office to avoid close proximity. Talk to your legal advisors to make sure the new systems and procedures you put in place follow guidelines before you open your doors.
2. What are our internal and external communication systems?
At this time, it’s critical to have consistent, reliable communication lines open with your internal team and your external partners and customers. Regularly update both internal and external audiences, sharing the information you know for certain and answering concerns directly and honestly. When talking with your internal team, be clear on how to communicate externally with customers and clients, keeping everyone on the same page.
In all communications, focus on unity and the long term. The short-term obstacles you’ll tackle won’t be easy, so it’s important to have everyone working together and looking to the benefits of setting your company up for lasting, long-term recovery.
3. Are we caring for our employees?
First off, make sure everyone feels physically safe. You’ll objectively achieve this safety by following your local guidelines, but it’s natural for people to be nervous and a little on edge when returning to the office. Allow as much of your staff as possible to continue to work from home as you slowly move back to in-office work.
Besides physical safety, care for your team mentally and emotionally during this time. Make sure each off your staff has someone they can talk to directly, like a manager or other mentor, to voice their concerns and anxieties and get direct answers. It’s important to put everyone as at ease as possible during this challenging transition.
4. Do people know what to expect when returning to work?
Make communication clear on who needs to return, when, and why. For those who are returning to in-office work, provide training on new procedures. Ideally, this training should be held on a working group basis, with small groups of people who are returning together taking the training simultaneously. Know that you’ll need to have refreshers and reminders as each new group returns to the office.
Give detailed information on how returning team members can obtain protective gear, guidelines on social distancing, and systems like elevator capacity and traffic flow. Post this information in a permanent place online and put physical reminders in the office as well. The more you can let your team know, the better.
5. Do we have teams monitoring change?
It’s near impossible for one person or team to monitor your entire business’ transition accurately. Establish a reporting structure with captains or managers in each working group managing areas such as protective gear supply management or social distance coordination.
Having a person or persons in each group monitoring rollout ensures it will go smoother and can be communicated easier to the whole staff. Designat persons monitoring progress at each group in your organization means you can catch small issues early, addressing them before they become widespread and potentially harmful.
6. Where do we need to start recovery?
The idea of total business recovery may be overwhelming. Make it more manageable by looking at your data and determining the most pressing needs. Where specifically did your sales take the biggest hits? Which were more minor slumps? Allocate resources to help the healthiest sales areas grow quickly and provide triage to hard-hit areas that are most impactful in your overall growth.
Though you’ll want to hit the ground running, you need to slow your pace and see what works for your customers. Customers are transitioning as well – you want to hear them and their needs and understand when they’re ready to ramp back up. Know that each client or industry will be different.
Patience is critical, as is being realistic about your recovery. Don’t expect to go back to where you were before in weeks, months, or even years. The global pandemic has had a lasting impact on business globally, and you need to be honest about where yours lies in the spectrum.
7. What are the lasting impacts on your industry and business?
First, take into account the new safety measures you’ve establish may be around longer than you anticipate. Experts say the coronavirus outbreak is unprecedented, therefore difficult to predict how and when it will subside.
In addition, evaluate how work from home procedures played out for your business. Perhaps offering more work from home options would be beneficial to your operations. Similarly, think about virtual meetings. Were you able to be just as productive with virtual communications as in-person ones? This can have an impact on individual travel and other aspects of what was routine for meetings and other communications.
Finally, think about the lasting impact on your overall industry. Look at data to determine how you’ll need to pivot on a macro scale. Some industries saw an increase in demand while others suffered – where did you fall? Do you need to reconsider your delivery channels? Are there new customer groups that may benefit from your product or services? Will you see a change in spending patterns? All of these factors need to be considered as you plan for the future.
8. Are we ready for next time?
By “next time,” we mean a disruption to your business’ normal operations that are outside of your control. Whether that means an unexpected power outage or something to a similar scale as the global pandemic, you need to be ready.
Meet with your task force or contingency team to talk about the lessons you learned from the current situation. Did your team have what they needed to work from home? Did you have enough safety gear for those who needed to stay in the building? Were your communications direct and immediate? See where you excelled and where you fell short, making adjustments to prepare for the next unexpected event.
Are Your Ready to Open?
Still not feeling ready to re-open? NuGrowth can help. During the global shutdown, our team was able to stay focused, safe, and productive due to our years of experience and preparation with a fully-operational remote team. Thanks to our creative solutions and team-focused mentality, we were able to continue to bring in sales and produce content amidst uncertainty.
And we can help you get ready, too. With seasoned professionals and a team that has worked with businesses of all sizes and industries, we’re able to go through transitions and come out the other side equipped to succeed and grow.
Whether it’s our remote sales team training, customized tech stack and support services, or 90-day Tactic Group campaigns to give you the jump-start you need after months of stagnation, we’re here to help. Get in touch by filling out a simple contact form or call us at 614.388.5811 to get on the road to recovery today.