Risk management

8 May 2020

Your post-corona crisis restart: a checklist

Many business owners have already been able to (completely) throw open their doors again. What are the most important things to consider if you are still preparing to restart?

‘How do you do business during a pandemic and lockdown?’ At the start of 2020, not many single business owners had relevant operational guidelines ready. The corona crisis came out of the blue for just about every company. You can start preparing for reopening now, even if you haven't been able or allowed to open just yet.

Business as usual?

A lot of companies are still closed for business or are running reduced operations. Who will be allowed to fully open again and when will be decided by the government (FR). Making this decision will involve striking a balance between public health and economic wellbeing. Achieving this equilibrium might be a longer-term exercise and may involve additional adjustments in the future. Business as usual will likely only be possible once a vaccine is available and the threat of the virus has receded. Be prepared too, as a business, to take measures that will likely be practical or necessary in the coming months or even years.

Zooming in and zooming out

Are you still shut or operating at reduced levels? Then it is essential to begin thinking about how you can make a fresh start. It is critical to not only zoom in on your own company and your personal challenges, but to zoom out - looking at what is happening around you in your sector, and your sector’s integration with the wider economy. If you have permission to reopen your business, it does not necessarily follow that your suppliers or other stakeholders will also be up and running. Furniture shops, for example, may well be permitted to open their doors again, but the industry's disrupted production chain could possibly still be impaired.

How you practically prepare for your reopening depends in part on your sector, your activities and how unique your company is. For the specific issues that apply to your company, it is best to get information from professional associations, communities of your business-owning peers, or your trusted advisor or network. In addition to your sector’s protocols, this checklist may assist you.

General checklist for restarting

1. Check the current crisis measures via the official governmental channels, trustworthy media outlets or professional organisations. Which (temporary) limitations may (still) be in effect, or could be reinstated? And how agile is your business for navigating those possible contexts when you do reopen?

2. Which scenarios (from rush to extreme caution) are likely when you initially reopen, and how can you respond to them flexibly? Might you, for example, have to process backlogs?

3. Does your business have sufficient financial resilience to make a new start?

4. Do you have a (visual) plan that includes all the virus-related rules and regulations mapped onto your business processes: how do I organise the workstations and eating places? Where do I put dispensers? Where will any screens be required? Do you also have a cleaning schedule, and have you planned regular evaluations of the implemented measures? Be sure to also consult the generic guide for practical precautions on spread prevention in the workplace.

5. Do you have a large(r) company? Have a dedicated coordinator to function as the first point of contact for all corona-related questions. This person can also be the one to communicate any further updates. This will enable you to focus more on the actual restart. But take care to also make yourself available and accessible to listen to any concerns or uneasiness.

6. Do you have a charter with guidelines for customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders? This could include: where and how deliveries can take place; the maximum number of customers permitted to be in your premises at any one time; rules for work breaks; what an employee is to do if they feel unwell; and what an employee should do if they see someone breaking the rules. Place these rules in a visible location and communicate them externally in a timely way. Evaluate the measures in place regularly. Check that everyone is aware of the rules and measures at the time of the actual restart.

7. Which experiences and learnings (for example, teleworking) can be carried forward from the crisis period into the new normal?

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