Much has been written in the past weeks and months about the business impact of the COVID-19 crisis. I, along with many others, have written extensively about the almost-overnight transition to remote work, as well as many other changes companies implemented to adapt. Now, I will be focusing on considerations for returning to work.
The Three Phases of the Crisis
I am observing three business stages of the crisis: react, respond and return. Each phase requires much change and innovation, and each is somewhat unique to the company. There is no one-size-fits-all business template. And every country, city and county has a different pace of response.
In the react stage, companies had to come to grips with the new reality. Organizations set up cross-disciplinary swat teams and conducted daily crisis meetings. The functions of HR, IT, facilities and finance were inextricably tied together. Companies transitioned people out of infected locations, shut down retail and branch locations, and started sending people home (and more than 20 million people were moved out of their jobs entirely).
In the respond stage, which is still ongoing for some companies, we see the adaptation of a wide range of business practices to the new reality. Companies are offering funding for home offices and family care, investing in online learning and wellbeing, changing leave and performance-management policies, massively increasing communications.
We’re now entering the return stage, in which companies are looking to get back to a full- (or almost-full) functioning business and starting to plan ahead. Read more.