A lot of companies are very relieved that they can make plans for reopening after the lockdown. However, reopening safely requires a lot of planning and preparation. In what follows, we share tips on how to deal with this reopening in the best possible way!
It is, of course, impossible to give a comprehensive picture here. The measures and guidelines are constantly updated based on the evolution of the coronavirus crisis. Still, we can give you some things you can already take into account:
- Understand that the rollout of the reopening will take place in different phases. The authorities will first ease the restrictions gradually before lifting them altogether.
- Each stage of the reopening of companies will be accompanied by strict measures to ensure the safety of all people. Anticipate this as much as possible and adapt as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- If you have several branches, be sure to check the guidelines issued by the local authorities.
Below is a list of the internal experts who need to be involved in this reopening. If you do not have this expertise in-house, it is advisable to look for external advisors who can guide you.
safety & facilities
The health and safety of your employees – and customers, visitors, etc. – must be given absolute priority during the reopening. This cannot be done without the expertise of your safety advisors.
Your finance team must calculate the costs of the various scenarios and make concrete recommendations on the basis of these figures. This crisis has had such a major impact on turnover for most companies that you quickly need a good view of the larger financial picture and the cost of the various reopening scenarios in order to be able to make the right decisions.
The legal framework and government recommendations are changing so rapidly that you need legal expertise to know whether the reopening plan you have in mind is in accordance with the law.
The HR people are needed to give you a quick insight into the staffing in the various departments and the availability of the people. They can also advise on any recruitment needs that may arise and are experts in adapting internal policies to make these post-COVID-19 compliant. The people of HR are also indispensable to support the staff in the transition to working in ‘the new normal’.
Make a clear return-to-work-safely plan! That plan contains answers to questions like:
- How are we going to guarantee social distancing?
- What are the guidelines on working from home?
- How do you make sure everyone knows and respects the new guidelines?
- What should happen to sick employees?
- How do you organise meetings?
- Will the company canteen remain open?
- How do we make sure rooms are decontaminated regularly?
You’ll find a lot of useful information about the layout of such a plan in these articles:
Make a plan to inform your employees and make sure they are motivated and safe to go back to work. HR will have to take the following things into account:
Some employees may not be entirely at ease with the reopening. Communicate regularly and demonstrate that you are very well prepared for the reopening and that you put their safety first.
replacing employees who are not going to work
It is conceivable that some employees will not (yet) return after the lockdown. Maybe some of them have found a new job, they must take care of the children because the schools are not reopening yet, or they must take care of a sick family member. Make a plan to replace those people.
employees who refuse to return to work
It is also conceivable that certain employees do not believe that it is safe to reopen just yet. This includes groups like those people with weakened immune systems or people who are afraid of getting infected. Are they allowed to work from home? Put clear rules and agreements on paper.
Are there any gaps in the work schedule during the reopening? Or do you need extra people in the coming weeks to catch up or to scale up quickly? Our consultants can help with the recruitment of temporary and permanent employees!