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How can businesses return to work in uncertain times?

We’ve heard so much about the ‘R Rate’ and supressing the ‘R Rate’ in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Every business owner/manager/director should be starting to evaluate their own business against what I see as 5 Rs; Review, Re-design, Return, Recover and Re-assess. 

Assuming that the business has completed the first two stages (review and re-design) and is now in a position to plan the third R in the series, the post-Covid RETURN.

Having re-designed the business, I would strongly recommend a ‘pre-return’ phase where, depending on how radical the plan is, advice is sought on employment legislation, COVID regulations, health & safety and premises requirements etc. This advice will be invaluable when planning to return – it will shape what it looks like in terms of consultation with employees, landlords, customers, partners etc.

Having the 10 Point Development Plan and the initial 90 Day plan, you are in a position to communicate to your whole team as well as external customers and partners.

You can detail what a RETURN looks like for your organisation giving confidence to everyone.  This includes who is returning, what they are doing, exactly how they will return, and why.

A great example is a busy Architects practice that I work with in Central London. Following the completion of phases 1 and 2 and, having consulted extensively with their team; it transpired that the key concern for returning to work was use of public transport.  After consideration, the practice closed its offices, ensured the entire team were equipped to operate effectively from home. They then developed a 12 Month plan following the 5Rs process to produce a blended/virtual practice. 

Areas that were included apply to all and utilise the R-rate series to re-design their business:

  • How do we create a Covid-safe, flexible working environment?
  • What does our working day look like?
  • What does blended working look like?

Technology - How do we ensure that we use latest technology both in our interface with our colleagues and our client base?

Structure - How do we re-structure so that we can manage projects internally, and also keep in regular contact with our clients?

This task will undoubtedly be quite different for every organisation, but the concept is the same; it will operate on a continuum from a virtual return, to whole scale return into the shop, office, manufacturing environment, and everything in between!

Once the RETURN plan is in place and being implemented, the organisation is now moving towards the fourth R - Recover, where these plans are delivered.

Successful delivery of these plans will require a Project Team responsible for implementation. Many organisations will engage experienced objective advisers to support these processes and ensure a level of objectivity and structure.

The Business Company, has over a decade of experience in this field, and we are keen to support our economy across The Marches/ West Midlands. We are offering a free ½ day initial analysis to support businesses from all sectors who would welcome support.