We’re going to be issuing a series of articles to support businesses as they start to plan a return to work.

Whether you have furloughed your employees and closed your business during this period, or have been operating remotely, with all your people working from home, you’ll need to put careful thought and consideration into ways of returning that protect your people and help to keep your business running.

These short guides are for guidance only – if you’d like us to support you with individual practical help and advice, please contact us on hello@objectivehr.com.

How could you do things differently?

If there’s one thing that most business owners agree on, it’s that things will not return to pre-COVID ‘normal’ for a long time.

So that means thinking more widely about ways you can keep your business running as changes to our ability to move around and work together are phased in. Our top things to consider include:

• What has worked well during lockdown? Could some of those practices become more permanent for your workforce?

• Have you had to diversify your business to stay afloat and will your new services continue? How will you train and communicate this to your staff so that business processes are seamless?

• Does all your work have to be done during standard opening hours? Perhaps there’s an opportunity now for some of the less customer-facing work to be done in evenings and weekends, giving you access to a wider pool of talent.

• Have you revised your opinion of remote working? Could that lead to more flexible workforce planning, meaning fewer people need to be in your offices at any one time?

• Has this experience actually proven that you’re overstaffed – how can you leverage talent and productivity without reducing service?

• Are there options to reduce hours, encourage sabbaticals or unpaid leave in order to reduce your workforce and payroll bill?

• What re-training might you need to do to ensure that your workforce is more multi-skilled, bringing more flexibility to your business?

• How will you social distance back in the work place? It is possible with the space you have?

• How will you interact with clients – from meetings to networking; lunches to corporate entertainment – will you have to re-think this?

• How will you communicate with and re-orient your workforce when we start to get back to work?

These are just some of the considerations in your new business planning. You are probably already some way down the line with many of these – particularly the practical ones – but it will pay to take all these things into account so that you are as prepared as you can be for the next stage in your business’s life.