The 3 Essential Steps of Any Business Reset Plan

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While it may seem difficult to believe, there will be a point when companies will open up their offices again as Federal and state governments begin to lift restrictions. Organizations must prepare for that now, or at the least engaging your stakeholders early for a reintegration discussion. This will can help ensure that policies and processes are established that will build trust and help employees feel safe and productive.

An organization’s post-pandemic reset plan should contain these three essential components:

Planning for the transition

Before offices can be reopened, examine your infrastructure in light of the pandemic. Should new guidelines be established regarding social and spatial distancing? If there is an open seating plan, does the seating arrangement need to be reviewed? Should employees be provided with protective equipment such as masks or gloves? Will the government mandate screening methods to be put in place for infections such as taking the temperature of every employee before they enter the work area, and if so, how effective will they be?

A cross-functional team, including representatives from legal, workplace solutions, employee engagement, benefits, technology, communications, and a medical expert should be assembled to address these issues. What will work best for your locations will be based on a number of factors unique to your organization, but employee safety should be the factor driving these decisions.

Once these decisions have been made, a comprehensive communications plan should be developed to help employees and managers assimilate back to the office. It should include guidance on how to provide flexible back-to-work options to help them balance life challenges that team members may be dealing with post-crisis. You may also want to consider transitioning back to the office in a phased manner, by perhaps initially allowing only certain teams on-site (as governed by business, client needs), continuing to have teams to work remotely, or having the flexibility of both options.  An open mind and an agile approach will go a long way.

Leaders should be mindful of the tremendous amount of stress people have been feeling, and it’s possible that some may have lost loved ones or their loved ones might have suffered job loss as a result of the pandemic. Employees should not feel pushed to return, and the creation of platforms to allow for their questions and concerns to be addressed can help foster trust. Many might still be fearful and anxious about returning to work, and an approach of empathy will go a long way in helping teams ease into the new situation.

Re-engaging your teams, safely

A great way to engage your teams after this crisis is by providing a forum to share their stories of how they navigated the pandemic, serving both to help them heal and reconnect with teams. Organizations may also want to use this opportunity to recognize and celebrate employees who exceptionally displayed your organization’s values or went above and beyond during this crisis.

The transition will likely be particularly difficult for managers, and Human Resources leaders should consider providing toolkits for managers to navigate evolved business dynamics.