Seven Steps to Do Business in The New Normal

Employees and employers are all anxious during this time. Therefore, returning to work is going to take empathy, analysis and planning. Business changes will need to be made and some of the changes will be long-term. Careful planning for reopening will be needed and communicating with your employees will be critical.

No two businesses will be the same in their planning. Consideration of all aspects of the startup or continuing business will need to be analyzed before putting together your plan and process.

Step One: Review your business operation and create a map for your reopening.

  • What immediate cost cuts you should make?
  • Does your current business plan work with the New Normal?
  • Can any of your business or work be done on-line or remotely?
  • What changes can you make now to reopen or continue operations?
  • What are your current employee needs for your current operations?
  • What changes need to be made to the workplace?
  • What new policies and procedures do you need to establish for the New Normal?
  • What changes will there be for the customer experience?
  • How are you going to communicate the changes to your employees and your customers?

Step Two: Access your employee needs and job descriptions to determine what to do next. You may want to change job descriptions, shifts, lunchroom, breakroom, and number of hours for your employees.

  • Employee decisions will be determined by what decisions you had to make when the Pandemic began including furloughs, layoffs, or reduction of staff.
  • Labor costs are another possible avenue.
  • Consider pay cuts, elimination of benefits, elimination or reduction of paid time off or a hiring freeze.
  • The reduction in labor costs above may create legal issues, so legal advice should be sought before taking action.
  • You can always shorten hours or alternate shifts for employees.
  • High risk employees may need different duties with less access to customers. (Advise employees to communicate to you if they have concerns or issues. Do not assume).
  • Create and post a process for employees when entering the workplace. Review process with the employees and have employees sign off on it.
  • Make sure you create a temporary, flexible sick policy with steps for employees to follow.
  • Make sure that the workplace posts guidance on how to comply with the current CDC guidelines.
  • Have employees make suggestions for the workplace lay out, safety, and customer experience.

Step Three: Be aware of issues that may arise with returning employees.  Examples are as follows:

  • Consideration of who to hire back first should be nondiscriminatory based and on how the employment ended.
  • New hire paperwork might be required such as I-9s, benefits, new hire reporting, etc.
  • Employees may be fearful of returning to work. Make sure to communicate to discover the reason.
  • Employees may have family obligations that prevents them from working.
  • Employees may remain on quarantine due to exposure, or COVID 19 illness.
  • Along with a flexible sick leave policy, ensure employees have understood guidelines for returning to work, as well as the process and procedure to notify employer if ill.

Step Four: Review CDC guidelines for your customers and employees in the workplace. This step will change as the CDC guidelines changes.

  • Create a workplace cleaning policy and outline procedures.
  • Deliver products or establish contactless pickup.
  • If writing utensils are needed, consider disposable.
  • Decide what products, what processes and what times the cleaning will take place.
  • Decide who will be responsible for these steps.
  • Type up the policy and procedure for posting in the workplace and share with the employees.
  • Create a map of what you want the work flow to be for the customer.
  • Employee input on new policies and procedures may help ease implementation and build employee relations.

Step Five: This is the step where you make sure you have the necessary new policies and procedures are in place. Communications and understanding begins here.

  • Utilize CDC guidelines for workplace customer numbers.
  • Masks may be required, along with 6 ft. social distancing.
  • Cleaning schedule and duties printed and posted for employees.
  • Employee screening listed and posted for employees.
  • If you are taking employee temperatures, the data is limited to essential personnel only.
  • Documentation of the employee temperatures should only be recorded in the employee medical file.
  • Customer expectations need to be printed and posted.
  • Communication of the precautions being taken for the customer’s experience needs to be shared with the customers.

Step Six: A regular review of the CDC’s changing guidelines needs to be done so that changes can be implemented to the workplace, and new policies and procedures can be made and communicated.

  • Review flexible sick leave.
  • Workplace changes.
  • Cleaning and screening processes.
  • Any other policies or procedures that you have put into place.

Step Seven: Create new plans going forward.

  • Establish a business crisis plan, including what has been learned about the workplace, e-commerce, telecommuting, and protocols for responding to future disasters.
  • Update plan resources and contact information to assure accuracy.
  • Review what actions improved business during this crisis and determine if you want to keep going forward.
Overall it is important to maintain empathy, patience and understanding while reopening or continuing to reopen.
  • Creating a detailed map of the steps that you want to put into place will help you and your staff realize a positive outcome.
  • Establishing a Communication plan for all aspect of your business will help with the process.
  • Adding some of the new steps and processes could improve business going forward.
Utilizing these seven steps will help your business, employees, and customers adapt as you merge into the New Normal. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
*Consultant is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or a law firm providing legal advice, explanation, opinion or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options or strategies.