Back to Work: Reopening Your Business during COVID-19

By the end of May 2020, states are gradually reopening their economies despite the COVID-19 outbreak. States are asking businesses to restart their operations as lockdown rules are slowly relaxed.

Reopening your business is more than returning to normal operations. The period that follows the pandemic features significant changes not only to economic activity. Cultural norms and societal behaviors have also changed.

Reopening a business amid COVID-19 requires reinvention and the outmaneuvering of uncertainty. Here’s how your organization can cope and thrive despite the pandemic:

Knowing Your Priorities

With the current circumstances, your business should have three priorities:

#1: Finding a way through uncertainty

There’s no telling how the pandemic will develop. The disease could be contained, or it could progress. Your business will need to scale your business for every possible scenario.

#2: Addressing and easing immediate challenges

You need to provide a safe and secure business environment for your workforce. Constant communication and transparency with workers and customers also build trust during these uncertain times.

#3: Building a better future

Take this pandemic to find opportunities to improve processes and build better relationships with customers and employees.

Reinventing Your Business

Business agreement handshake at coffee shop
Business agreement handshake at coffee shop

With these priorities in mind, you can reopen and rebuild your business in these four key areas:

#1: Prioritizing people

Since the pandemic started, unemployment in the US rose to 14.7%. Most Americans are facing high anxiety over whether they’ll still have a job in the future.

Your workers might be experiencing the same anxiety, and it might be affecting their productivity. Find the right mix of leadership and guidance to motivate your employees. Proactively approach them and ask what they need in these troubling times. Offer mental and financial support when needed.

#2: Understanding the changed expectations of your customers

Your customers will change their expectations with how they interact with you. They want to feel safe and expect to see sanitization, cleaning, and limited interactions. Some people might prefer to eat, shop, and take care of their health at home rather than go out.

Before you reopen, take the time to tell your customers your commitments to their and your employees’ safety. Work with a digital PR agency or your in-house team to create a statement that develops customer trust in your business.

#3: Redesigning the work environment

Restyle your business so that it’s suitable for remote work. Train your managers on how to manage virtual teams.

If your business requires employees to report to the office, figure out who needs to go to the office and who can work remotely. For workers reporting to the office, redesign the workspace so that it’s comfortable and safe.

#4: Prepare for the unexpected

Reengineer processes and create a business model that responds to changing conditions. Start by looking at your current business strategy and strengthening the resiliency of critical business strategies. Make sure your business decisions coordinate with government policies.

Identify what skills your workforce needs in the future and train your staff accordingly. Leverage in the latest technologies to make your workforce more agile.

Reopening during the pandemic is more than resuming normal operations. The rules have changed, and so did your customers and employees.

However, the pandemic has also created new business opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of them so that your business survives and thrives despite uncertainties.

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