The Time to Lead is Now: Transitioning to the New Normal


As our states and counties begin to talk about reopening and moving forward, our company leaders are trying to figure out how to transition themselves and their teams into a new post-COVID19 normal.  Lori Miller of Developing Professionals broke down exactly what areas you need to focus on to build a viable business continuity assessment.

As you plan for reentry, there are six areas you’ll need to address in your business continuity assessment,:

  1. Business Impact
  2. Customer Relations
  3. Operations Management
  4. Financial Management
  5. Health and Safety Protocols
  6. HR Management

By taking the time to address each of these areas, you’ll be sure to have a comprehensive plan to aid in your organization’s transition.

Business Impact

Have your team assess what areas of your current business model were the most affected by the coronavirus.  You may have had to redefine your “business-critical” roles and functions.  Perhaps your IT department had to expand while other departments shifted to part-time remote work.

Once you’ve assessed the areas that were impacted, you can decide what changes you’ll need to make moving forward and what changes made during quarantine you’ll want to keep.   

Customer Relations

You and your team have put time and energy into developing your customer relationships and they’ve been disrupted.  There are a few ways to continue to support your customers in order to sustain their loyalty.  Be transparent with them during this time.  Make sure they’re aware of what changes you’re making at your company and what changes you will be making in the future to adhere to appropriate social distancing policies.

Take some time to check in with your customers as well and ask how their businesses have changed.  Consider sending a pulse survey to see how they’re managing and how your organization can better assist them.

Operations Management

There are different elements of the operations side of your organization that you’ll need to consider as you build your business continuity assessment.  As your team returns to work, there are different types of equipment you’ll need to purchase and install to protect your employees and customers.  You may need to change employee’s hours to minimize contact among people.

Assess your technology needs and make sure that each team member is equipped with the tools they need to access information and join meetings.  You’ll also want to check in with your IT department to ensure that they have the capacity to troubleshoot as some employees continue to work from home while others transition back to the office.

Financial Management

Everyone has been financially affected in some capacity by COVID19.  Even if you are not responsible for your organization’s finances, it’s important that you’re aware of how the pandemic has affected your organization financially.

Compare your projected 2020 budget to what it currently looks like.  As you begin to plan ahead for the remainder of the year and for 2021, have projections for various situations that could occur as we move through the remainder of the pandemic (decrease in sales with different percentages, etc.).

There will be supplies you’ll need to order that you weren’t expecting and some you’ll no longer need to order.  You may have made changes in staffing or salaries.  Understand how each of these scenarios affects your organization’s financial situation.

Health and Safety Protocols

Properly caring for the health and safety of your employees is essential to a successful transition post-COVID.  Everyone’s main concern will be whether or not they’re safe going into an office space.  Some of your efforts to ensure their safety should include:

  • Closure of on-site facilities and common areas
  • Availability of the necessary on-site health screenings
  • Protective equipment such as face masks, plastic shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Consistent cleaning of common surfaces by employees and cleaning/maintenance staff
  • Reconfiguration of office space so that employees aren’t next to one another
  • Implementation of social distancing policies

Ensuring your employee’s health and safety will help them feel comfortable and safe returning to their workspaces.

HR Management

With so many changes in the workplace, you’ll want to create a training plan for employees to complete when they return to work.  Some components should address the changes made to ensure everyone’s health and safety.  Other components will cross-train employees so that you’re prepared if there is an increase in absences due to COVID19 and the anticipated waves of the pandemic.

Update and redistribute your employee handbook to include any new policies you’ve created or changes to your offered benefits.  

Some policies to include:

If your organization is small and doesn’t have a dedicated HR department, consider hiring an HR consultant to help you revise your employee handbook.  Your payroll company may also have additional HR services you can utilize.

And don’t forget about mental health

As you prepare to transition your team (and yourself) back to working in an office space, don’t forget to consider everyone’s mental health.  It will be challenging to transition away from working at home.  Check-in with your team and be open with one another.  If some of your team is still working from home, be considerate of their schedules and family obligations as well. 

Take the time to listen and to set clear expectations of your team and you’ll all be able to manage our “new normal”.