17.4.20

A Workplace Plan for these Uncertain Times

By Paul Czerwonka, Strategic Business Director

Workplace Services and Coronavirus

With the safety and well-being of employees as their first priority, workplace professionals face another critical question as the coronavirus outbreak plays out around the world: When the pandemic begins to subside, and the government loosens or removes social distancing restrictions, what are the criteria for determining when a business should return to normal and bring their employees back?

Our Graebel teams have been hearing this a lot as we check in with our global workplace clients to offer personalised guidance about the coronavirus situation and related challenges. The answer to the “when” question will vary according to local advisories, individual organisations, regions and industries. But the right answer should also balance a company’s culture, Duty of Care philosophy and business continuity considerations.

First things first, though. What do we recommend regarding short- and longer-term considerations for business owners at this time?

Maintain short-term measures
Here are four basic policies most global organisations have set in motion:

  • Communicate regularly. Consistent, regular communication in the form of video, emails and texts can help reassure employees, customers and suppliers.
  • Stick to the facts. Follow guidance from the World Health Organisation, International SOS, and local health authorities. Where possible, use these expert sources to guide and explain decisions. This can help debunk any misinformation that might cause unnecessary worry or confusion.
  • Flex to address employee and business needs. Review all project scopes, schedules and budgets to determine which ones are key and should proceed, as well as any new projects needed to address this crisis.
  • Continue precautionary measures. Maintain preventative policies to ensure employee safety and business continuity. These include non-essential travel restrictions, work-from-home arrangements and conference cancelations.

Plan for the near term
Employees will be returning to the workplace. Plan now to make this a positive experience with ample evidence and reassurance that the workplace is clean and disinfected. Consider creating a new “feel” for the workplace as well by taking this time to upgrade fixtures, rearrange common areas and implement other visible touches that signify a clean and fresh start.

Plan for the longer-term
How can an organisation be stronger than ever following this pandemic? Engage teams to re-define their strategic roles and responsibilities in supporting business imperatives and cross-functional partnerships with Human Resources, Risk Management, Finance & Accounting and other business functions.

With COVID fresh on everyone’s minds, take this “old” guidance from the Centers for Disease Control to heart. Plan now for the next epidemic.

From your friends and colleagues at Graebel Commercial Services, please stay safe and positive.