Returning to work in the ‘new normal’ age
Returning to work in the ‘new normal’ age
The impact of Thailand’s nationwide lockdown for the last two months has been immense. The National Security Council that handles the lockdown measures have stated their aim to reopen businesses and ease restrictions. However, the way businesses operate will almost certainly not resume in the way things were prior to the lockdown. Due to social distancing guidelines, aimed at preventing a second wave of outbreak, many businesses cannot run their operations at full capacity.
Now that companies are gradually transitioning to ‘the new normal’ and opening up their offices again, it is important that they make the right transitions and preparations from the beginning to avoid additional unnecessary cost in the long run
Managing the return of employees to the physical workplace creates an unrivalled enterprise resource planning challenge. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crucial challenge organizations had to overcome was the ability to scale infrastructure to facilitate remote working. As we look towards the future and the new reality of the workplace, balancing the availability of employees with the readiness of locations, the availability of the supply chain and market demand is a frequently changing dynamic that will entail serious management.
Compassion and connectivity: First and foremost, organizations need to consider the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and families. The stress of working from home, cut off from fellow team members, can compromise physical and mental wellbeing. Individuals need to feel connected, engaged and motivated in order continue working effectively, and this requires digital tools and applications that people know how to use. Check in with each individual employee on their personal circumstances through team leaders and managers. Deliver leadership broadcast communications and proactively drive lines of communications with people via email, intranet, chat rooms, etc. to provide reassurance and manage expectations
Capability and Capacity: It’s difficult to meet the operational needs of the business and deliver adequate bandwidth and remote-working capabilities when staff absences and availability are unpredictable and the demand is shifting, resulting in the need to rebalance teams. Organizations need an effective workforce management capability to optimize resourcing options including flexible working, contingent and managed service provision.
Determine who are your key staff, who are their deputies and how they are supported; identify business-critical roles and ensure coverage is planned. Initially splitting the workforce and assigning duplicate roles so that teams operate on alternative days or at different sites. Wherever appropriate, upskilling and redeploying teams to accommodate changed demand and shifts into new and critical products and services.
Cost: Many of the changes being made to the way work is done now, will be long lasting, and therefore, need to be considered strategically as an investment. Avoid any short-term ‘knee-jerk’ decisions in relation to resourcing and costs without thinking through the impact on employee well-being and longer-term protection of jobs.
Compliance: Commercial and pragmatic business responses to this crisis situation need to be balanced against the need to ensure all decision making in relation to people is compliant with tax and legal obligations and that directors are aware of their directors’ duties. Continue to engage the regulators and the legal team on regulatory reporting requirements to ensure compliance is reached.
“What is no less important, is for companies to recognize and embed the best practices they have developed over the course of the crisis,” continues Charoen. “Use the approaches that are practical and pragmatic as business standard while continuing to reevaluate the situation and develop a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure lessons learned are in place to further enhance the crisis management framework.”
For more tips on enterprise resiliency, please visit: https://bit.ly/COVID19EnterpriseResilience
Thai version: การกลับมาดำเนินธุรกิจในยุค New normal
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