Media resources have inundated us, ad nauseam, with the phrase “new normal” to describe the post-pandemic landscape. In terms of business leadership, a more productive dialogue might be to discuss how we rebound from disruption and the economic downturn.
Industry leaders are now tasked with navigating the uncertainty of phased regional reopening and rendering decisions about IT infrastructure changes they made, among others. No one envies the possibility of post-pandemic trial and error. That’s why compiling a coronavirus reopening checklist could be in your best interest.
Nick Hess, who owns an IT services company in Portland, OR offers three things to consider that could help you rebound from the COVID-19 damage.
1: Craft A Flexible Timeline
Each state government faces unique challenges regarding infection rates, deaths, and the potential for an uptick in cases. Even a cursory look at a coronavirus map indicates that rural and urban areas have been impacted differently. Consider pulling together department heads and key IT experts to develop a timeline that mirrors your state’s anticipated phased reopening.
“Throughout the pandemic, individual states and regions have been tasked with determining their own guidelines for stay-at-home orders and business closures,” a U.S. Chamber of Commerce reopening guide states. “Some states have even delegated certain decisions to the county or city levels, which may make it difficult for businesses with multiple locations to create a company-wide reopening plan.”
The employees who your organization was able to seamlessly manage remotely may be best served to remain in place. The continued use of Cloud-based remote connectivity will allow you to phase-in brick-and-mortar activities or defer decisions about keeping work-from-home strategies.
2: Develop COVID-19 Safety Protocols
In all likelihood, you will be able to bring back on-site workforces by using personal protective clothing and equipment. Throughout the coronavirus surge, health and safety agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued social distancing and sanitation guidelines. Business leaders will now have to implement such protocols within facilities to keep employees and customers out of harm’s way. These are suggestion listed in “A Guide to Reopening Your Business,” published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
- Think about how you can best reiterate and enforce the CDC’s guidelines for proper, frequent handwashing and coughing/sneezing into a tissue or elbow when employees return to work.
- Assess your business’s current cleaning and sanitation practices against the CDC’s recently released recommendations.
- If your state has issued requirements for your employees and/or customers to use face masks and gloves on-premises, have a plan in place to enforce that regulation and provide PPE to employees if at all possible. Otherwise, you may wish to encourage employees to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace, per the CDC’s official recommendation.
- Consider how your current workspace can be reconfigured to encourage social distancing if telework is not possible. The CDC recommends installing physical barriers, changing layouts to put at least six feet of distance between workstations, closing communal spaces, staggering shifts and breaks, and refraining from large events.
3: Increase Your Online Capabilities
Perhaps the singular decision that had the greatest positive outcome was pivoting to remote workforces. This IT-driven strategy allowed companies to continue robust productivity and negotiate the uncharted pandemic waters. As states begin to relax Stay at Home orders and open sectors, savvy professionals would be wise to double-down on IT investment for the following reasons.
- A Second COVID-19 Peak Could Spike
- Online Platforms Deliver Company-Wide Communication
- Remote Workforces Have Proven To Be Highly Productive
- CFOs Can Reduce Capital Expenditures
It’s also essential for organization decision-makers to consider that a second spike could put your operation back a square one. That’s why proactive entrepreneurs, CEOs, and others are maintaining the remote IT infrastructure they invested in during the uptick or doubling down. The central role IT played in shepherding outfits through the worst part of the pandemic is undeniable. That’s why IT consultations are imperative to successfully rebounding from this and future economic disruption.