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KLR Re-Entry Package, Part 4 - Operational Changes

(posted: June 10th, 2020)

How is your week going? How are you doing planning and deploying your re-entry strategy?

Last week we talked about the importance of communication and a clear change-management program. The leadership and communication pieces of your plan are critical, but what about the practical, operational elements?

I mentioned this statistic last week, and I'm going to say it again: Roughly 66% of workers in the U.S. are not comfortable going back to work.

Some 70% of Americans questioned by PwC in early May said that "something" would prevent them from returning to the office or work site if their employer asked them to do so now.

More than half of the respondents said they were fearful of getting sick, while others said they were reluctant to use public transport to commute. Some said that caring duties would prevent them from leaving the home as long as schools and nurseries are out of session.

At the same time, there are those who are struggling with the isolation of remote work and have a real need to get back to some kind of communal work environment.

Returning to physical offices in the near future is going to be complex, with elements unique to your industry and your workforce. A written plan documenting how you will re-start and continue work in a shared workplace is going to be essential.

Crafting a "New Normal" Operational Plan

I suggest that you create a working group or task force to help build your operational approach. Make sure that the members of the task force are drawn from all areas of the company, not just the leadership team.

As you and your task force review the following list, keep in mind that these are only a few of the details you need to think through. It is far from exhaustive, and you'll likely find things to add to it.

I suggest that you create a working group or task force to help build your operational approach. Make sure that the members of the task force are drawn from all areas of the company, not just the leadership team.

As you and your task force review the following list, keep in mind that these are only a few of the details you need to think through. It is far from exhaustive, and you'll likely find things to add to it.

Employee Survey
Consider doing a survey to get your employees' input. This allows people to respond anonymously so that they feel comfortable being totally honest.

Training
People need to know what you expect of them. Consider "boot camps" to get everyone up to speed on the changes and how they are expected to behave in the new workplace.

State/County/City Regulations
Make sure you know what your area has mandated, and determine how you will meet those requirements.

Scheduling

  • Will people come back full-time, or partly in the office and partly remote?
  • Are there some employees who are more essential to the business function than others?
  • Consider rotating shifts so fewer people are in the office at any given time.
  • Is it possible/practical to let employees choose their level of return to the physical office?
  • What else might you do to reduce the amount of people in the office at once?

Health & Safety
Five factors determine how the virus spreads, and how to prevent it.

  1. Proximity: How physically close are workers to each other?
  2. Nature of contact: Do workers touch common items, other workers or customers?
  3. Duration: How long does a typical interaction last?
  4. Number of different contacts: How many interactions occur in a day?
  5. Ability to screen and remove: Are there screening points or protocols that protect your workers (and customers) from contact with contagious people?
  • What measures and requirements will you put in place?
  • Will you, for example, put passenger limits on elevators?
  • Can you make the employee breakroom safer?
  • What about requiring masks?
  • Will you check employee's temperatures?
  • Will you ask employees to share their health info?
  • How will you teach people about the new rules and behaviors that are expected of them?

The Physical Space

  • Will you rearrange the floorplan to keep employees 6 feet apart?
  • Can you increase ventilation/fresh air flow?
  • Will you increase how often the office is cleaned?
  • Can you create space in your conference / meeting rooms so that you can safely hold in-person meetings?
  • What else can you do with your specific office to increase safety?

You can't afford the risk of this not working.

The Re-Entry Package Series:

Stay grounded, healthy, and hopeful,
- Kristi

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