We understand that navigating the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for most businesses, especially if you don’t always have an expert or committee to take care of every situation. When governments announce that we can safely open businesses and return to work, you need to be prepared. Here are key steps to help you focus on stabilizing your business and recovering from the crisis.
The information provided is only intended as a general guideline. It is not intended to take the place of written laws or regulations provided by official sources such as the government. Further, given the rapidly evolving spread of COVID-19, circumstances are changing day by day. We encourage you to review the specific rules and regulations in your location before making any decisions.
If you're operating a small or medium-sized business, you may not have the tools or expertise to navigate the challenges of reopening on your own. Many of the tools and resources that are available from governments are overwhelming and confusing. Our end-to-end guides break down the reopening process into straight-forward steps and walk you through considerations to develop a solid return to work plan that puts health and safety first. Select the best guide to walk you through your reopening process.
keep lines of communication open
During uncertain times, it’s critical that you communicate with all the stakeholders in your company. This includes your employees, suppliers, and customers. Even if you are uncertain about the direction your company will take, feel unprepared to share your action plans, or worry that you may repeat information that has already been widely circulated in the media, it’s important to let everyone within your organization know where you stand and that you’re looking ahead. It is never too early to share words of reassurance!
Worry and fear often increase in the absence of up-to-date information. Let your employees know that they can expect regular updates from you. Communicate with them, even if the situation remains unchanged. This will be reassuring and keep everyone calm.
Make sure all your communications look professional. Also, don’t forget to include key information, such as who they can contact for more details.
what to communicate:
- let everyone know if new measures are coming
- communicate changes once you
- have established a direction
- provide regular updates
must-haves to include in your communications:
- company logo
- the date
- a title summarizing the key message
- a point of contact with job title and contact information
get key insights from your suppliers
Your suppliers are probably affected by COVID-19, and dealing with unprecedented issues just like you are. Make sure to inform them about the effects COVID-19 is having on your business - whether that’s an increase or a decrease in demand - and determine the best way for you to work together to facilitate a return to normal business activity after the crisis.
- How did COVID-19 impact their business?
- Are they ready to start supplying you again? In what quantities and for how long?
- Are there any changes for pick-ups and deliveries?
- Are there any changes in payment terms?
focus on your relationship with your customers
It’s important to re-engage customers at this time. As the crisis subsides and business returns to normal, you will need to leverage customer loyalty that you built up during the pandemic. Keeping in close communication and providing support before, during, and after the crisis leads to long-term loyalty. You’ll also want to understand the issues they’re facing, so you can evaluate the impact on your business and how you can work together.
- Are they still purchasing your product or service?
- Is there an increase or decrease in demand?
- Can they expect changes for shipping and deliveries?
- Will your product or service be available at a physical location?
Communicate what’s changing at your company including delivery times, product quantities, changes in payment terms, and so on.
communicate with your employees to keep them engaged
Your employees are on the front line of this crisis. They need to quickly adapt to a new reality and be reassured about their future with your company. Keep them informed, and ensure they have the resources to safely return to work. Everyone understands the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. It’s important to communicate and let them know you’re looking to the future. Regular and transparent internal updates are key.
- How are you managing the transition from remote work to on-site work?
- How will you ensure the safety and security of your workplace?
- How will you support employees who don’t feel comfortable returning to work?
- What resources will you provide to facilitate their next steps?
Tackling the pandemic and adapting to the reality of COVID-19 was the first stage of recovery. When this crisis passes and authorities allow us to open our offices, warehouses, stores, and restaurants again, we need to take the necessary steps to work together and support all parties involved. By communicating openly and honestly with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, we can prepare for a return to normal business activity.