The personal and economic scars left by the Covid-19 virus need time to heal. There are no shortcuts to easing the tragic pain of the past few months but both public and private organisations have a duty to play their part in that healing process.
As Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America and Chair of the World Economic Forum's International Business Council, said recently; "the number one thing is to focus on is employees and customers. Keep them well, keep them employed and keep them mentally healthy."
But how? Where do organisations start? As countries emerge from lockdown, the world has changed. Getting back to work is not just about opening doors and expecting employees to return as if nothing has happened.
The challenge now is how to ensure safety at work; how to offer flexible working and manage that flexibility; how to look after employee wellbeing; how to re-skill staff and optimise resources; how to ensure quick and efficient communication and a rapid response plan should the virus (or any other crisis) rear its head again and how to keep customers, partners, and communities safe and informed.
While many organisations have probably surprised themselves with their speed of decision making and ability to keep the lights on through remote working, they will need a structured approach to return to work and to grow against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.
While most organisations have already gone through a ‘stabilise’ phase, mitigating short-terms risks and steadying the ship, we are now entering a ‘re-open’ phase where organisations are mobilising different teams to re-enter the workplace. It’s important that managers listen to employees and everyone listens to customers, as businesses will be going through the different stages of recovery at different speeds.
How organisations manage and implement this re-open phase is crucial, as it will set the tone for how the organisation wants to work in the future. This is an opportunity for every organisation. How you make decisions, how you work, how you engage with customers but also how you service society and communities will determine your culture going forward.
These are just some of the fundamentals to building a robust return-to-work environment.
In addition, organisations can use this as an opportunity to double-down on sustainability efforts and empower teams to work with local communities through a formalised programme of partnerships and projects.
The third phase is ‘grow’, where organisations build upon the re-opening strategy, accelerating positive change and transforming the business to create an engaging employee experience, centred around customer satisfaction. Our Covid-19 Response Playbook provides a more detailed structured plan for dealing with and emerging from the Covid-19 crisis stronger.
What is clear is that re-opening for business will be a journey for everyone. What lessons can we learn from coping with lockdown? Will this change how we react in the future? What will this do to organisational structures and what role will technology play in creating more dynamic and engaging work cultures?
What we do know is that digital tools will be fundamental to success. We have already seen how workers in lockdown embraced communication tools such as Zoom or Skype and how cloud strategies have been key to enabling the rapid deployment and enablement of a remote workforce, but what does this mean as we emerge from lockdown?
For Salesforce it means health, safety, speed and intelligence. With tools and apps, such as our Workplace Command Centre, employee contact tracing app, employee wellness assessment, emergency response management and shift management and planning, we can build a robust and coordinated infrastructure to manage return-to-work safely and efficiently.
This Covid-19 response toolkit can be found at Work.com and is the culmination of research from customers, as well as the support and advice from partners such as Deloitte, PwC, Accenture, Fusion Risk Management and ComplianceQuest, among many others.
As organisations across the spectrum of industries and regions try to find some semblance of normality in the coming weeks, it is clear that partner ecosystems will play a significant role.More than ever before, the collective strength of ecosystems will find solutions to many unforeseen problems that may yet emerge, after all, the pandemic is not yet over.
But together there is at least hope that we can all emerge from this, not just stronger but more sustainable, more robust and more aware of the significant role we all play in our communities.
Download the Covid-19 Response Toolkit to see how we can help your business stabalise, re-open, and get back to growth.