The impact of COVID-19 on businesses worldwide has been drastic, with many going bankrupt. Fortunately, as countries relax stay-at-home restrictions, companies can ramp up and get back on track amidst the stringent COVID-19 protocols.
Whether you’re still operating or restarting your operations, you’ll need to take a couple of actions to ensure business processes are safe for your workers and customers—staying as safe and productive as possible.
Implement New Safety Protocols
The health and well-being of your employees is the highest priority when restarting or ramping operations. You’ll need to review and incorporate several new resource policies, processes, and infrastructure in response to the rapidly-changing circumstances and regulations. Whenever or wherever workers congregate, determine ways to change the flow to adhere to the social distancing guidelines, which you can do by giving new shift schedules, job arrangements, and work zones.
You should also provide the necessary PPE (personal protective equipment) gear, such as masks and face shields, while providing designated facilities for washing hands and separate storage for PPEs to ensure optimal safety.
Maintain Daily Operation Efficiencies
The new safety protocols will undoubtedly have a profound impact on your employees’ daily work processes. Expect productivity to be reduced as workers’ positions in offices, facilities, and production lines are separated, making interactions severely limited. Additionally, it would be best if you also prepared for supporting several processes more intently, such as maintenance and cleaning, as there’s a requirement for increased surface sanitation.
All these changes may lower employee morale, making it crucial to maintain collaboration levels and process efficiencies. When evaluating process changes, your human resources team can help you understand the impact and health and safety protocols introduced to your company. While supply chain teams can help you ensure you have the appropriate PPE levels, products, and raw materials to enable new business processes.
Reconfiguring your operations based on your teams’ findings can help you determine the best ways to implement them while helping your employees cope—and stay ahead.
Train, Educate, and Monitor
After establishing new business processes, roles, and responsibilities, focus on training and educating employees while monitoring these practices’ efficiency. That’s because any strategy or program is only effective if they’re communicated well and followed. All training plans need to cover all health and safety protocols and be formally documented to keep staff informed. It will be crucial that you track the training delivered, who’s received it, and the comprehension and engagement levels to ensure everyone’s involved.
Additionally, communication plans should target your customers and suppliers in addition to your internal team to let them know how your operations are going to affect them. Finally, you need to ensure you have employees to continually monitor the COVID-19 situation to help your business operations adjust and adapt accordingly.
Incorporate an Enhanced Operating Model
The pandemic will require business owners to make longer-term changes to their operating models to keep the workspace safe, healthy employees, and optimizing future organization productivity. Technology will play a crucial role in this aspect, so focus on your business’s core processes and see where you can apply digitization to keep the workplace safe while improving productivity. For instance, automating ‘points of contact’ with surfaces like material-handling tasks can reduce overall contacts on surfaces and products, making it safer for customers and employees.
Manage Future Risks
The COVID-19 ‘new normal’ way of living is going to add many risks to your operations alongside new customer demands and other issues such as supply chains getting disrupted, or worse—dealing with an outbreak in your premises. These dynamics require you to come up with efficient solutions to all possible worst-case scenarios. Besides that, having continuity plans in place in all areas of your business can help you avoid these risks in the long run, saving your company and your finances.
Despite the restrictions, some businesses are allowed to continue operating as long as they adhere to the rules, and following the tips mentioned can help you ramp up and restart your operations with ease.