As the vaccine rollout continues and the prospects of a post-pandemic economic recovery percolate, many companies are starting to seriously consider what their workplaces are going to look like when COVID-19 finally starts to ease its grip on the world. Regardless of how well the pivot to remote working went, after all, it’s clear that moving back to a more normal situation won’t be as easy as flipping a switch.
In a recent article for Fast Company, author Shawn Casemore lays out five steps that organizations can take now to prepare themselves for what comes next:
Who shined during the switch to remote work and handled the challenges without breaking stride?
Now is the time, Casemore says, to clearly identify those individuals who manage critical relationships with customers and/or have knowledge that is crucial to moving the business forward.
Having identified their MVPs, leaders also need to ensure that critical relationships, knowledge and expertise throughout the organization become extrinsic. This is where a good CRM can help capture key information about leads and customers for everyone in the organization.
Plan for emergencies
Good emergency planning begins with asking “what if” questions – an approach that Casemore says is necessary to create contingency plans for MVPs who may decide to leave the business. How would the firm respond if a critical partner headed for the exit? What gaps exist that would need to be addressed immediately?
By equipping other employees with the same skills their MVPs possess through cross-training, leaders can help protect the business if one of those MVPs decides to move on. The key is determining what training is critical and ensuring team members remain current on those important skills.
Nurture the culture
One of the more widespread downsides of the move to remote work – even for those firms that managed to do it well – has been the erosion of corporate culture among a scattered workforce. Casemore says that’s why leaders need to consider how to rebuild and restructure their culture as remote teams and online work continue, and to think about changes in communications and team activities they’ll need to focus on once employees begin returning to the physical office.