Coronavirus (COVID-19), HR Management & Compliance

A Shift from Competition to Collaboration: How to Get People Back into the Workforce and What It Will Look Like

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading like wildfire, and with every passing minute, we receive the latest updates. With the evolution of the situation, most small business owners doubt the steps and plans to survive, mitigate risk, support customers, and protect employees.

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As the IMF has forecasted a 6.1% decline in advanced economy gross domestic product (GDP) this year and world trade is expected to shrink between 13% to 32%, businesses are intensely focusing on discovering survival and recovery plans. We need effective strategies to stay profitable and afloat during the crisis and after the economy reopens.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines regarding the current lockdowns and preventive measures against the global pandemic have compelled businesses to not only revise their survival strategies and recovery plans but also take into consideration what the future of work will look like after the pandemic ends.

The Business Survival and Recovery Plan—Some Recent Cases

In responding to the crisis, some companies are following the underlying frameworks to lead efforts when situations rapidly change, as with COVID-19, and a rigid plan is inadequate. For instance, one Asian company implemented a framework named M.A.D.:

  • “Mind-set”—Ensuring employees’ mind-set intensely focuses on the risks.
  • “All in”—All efforts must be comprehensive, from both the back and the front office, instantly.
  • “Discipline”—No casual approach; every plan must have a method, suitable technology, and a comprehensive ecosystem.

An Italian transport company formed a three-pillar strategy:

  • First, the protection of the health of employees and customers
  • Second, the protection of the company’s future (which specifically means managing cash)
  • Third, defining and approving the essential sacrifices with stakeholders to survive the crisis

Adopt ‘Remote Work’ as Future of Work

As per Gartner’s March 2020 Survey,  88% of businesses let their employees work from home during the pandemic, while 91% of project teams have executed work-from-home arrangements since the COVID-19 outbreak. This signifies an important strategy for businesses to survive and keep themselves operating and profitable during and after the crisis: Establish a comprehensive and sound remote work policy.

As per Gartner’s COVID-19 Bulletin: Executive Pulse, 74% of businesses plan to permanently shift to remote work post-COVID-19. With a lot of people already working remotely, many free tools are available for business owners to utilize to keep their teams in touch and working, even if they are in different geographical locations.

This is how businesses could adapt and bring people back to work after the pandemic. To set everyone up for success, they should implement a remote work policy covering when and how they expect their team to be available online, ways to communicate (via e-mail, Zoom, Slack, or video call, for example), and what deliverables team members are responsible for completing.

Maintain Communication with Critical Suppliers

Businesses must talk with their critical suppliers of both goods and services regarding their capability to deliver reliably. They must also consider setting up substitute suppliers.

Invest in technology. According to an article published on Zoom, due to remote work, the use of videoconferencing is rising fast, as Zoom reached more than 200 million daily participants (paid and free)—up from just 10 million in December 2019.

Gartner indicates that 54% of HR leaders consider poor technology and infrastructure to be the biggest obstacle for effective remote working. Therefore, because technology and infrastructure are the biggest barriers to workforce productivity and connectivity, businesses must invest in remote work technologies to ensure smooth operations, employee productivity, and profitability.

The COVID-19 outbreak demonstrates that business contingency planning is a worthwhile practice, which is why businesses should focus on their survival and recovery strategy right away or else be left behind.

Greg ReidBusiness strategist Greg Reid is a bestselling author; filmmaker; and world-renowned, Top-10 Keynote Business Speaker who presents to professional organizations about the power of perseverance and adaptability in the workplace.

Published by, featured in, or having coauthored more than 100 books, 28 bestsellers in 45 countries, 5 motion pictures, and countless magazines, Reid demonstrates that the most valuable lessons we learn are also the easiest ones to apply. He is the Founder and CEO of the Secret Knock, an exclusive event and professional collaboration community that was named a “Can’t-Miss Conference for Entrepreneurs” by Forbes and Inc.

Reid’s expertise can be accessed in his latest bestselling book, Three Feet From Gold: Turn Your Obstacles Into Opportunities. Part of the Think & Grow Rich series, the Updated Anniversary Edition was just released in spring 2020.

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