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INSIGHTS

Using Reopening as an Opportunity for a Fresh Start




All businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic in one way or another. Business owners and leaders have had to adjust and navigate intense fluctuations in business, including shutdowns, slowdowns, surges in business, among others, all while responding and adapting to constantly changing legislation, health regulations, and other requirements. This was further complicated by businesses trying to address new workplace operational and employee personal needs.


As a result, the workplace has been altered and employees will continue to have questions. The only constant, it appears, is change.


The pandemic has forced many to work past constraints and to try new things. Some barriers have diminished such as we see with virtual working or the use of technologies. Many businesses have new employees who’ve never stepped into the workplace or met their teams in-person. For many businesses, there has been little time to be strategic or for planning – only responding.


With the advent of “reopening” or “coming back to together”, comes the opportunity to reassess the workplace – how things are done and where they are done, your policies and your organizational culture.


We’ve Been Exposed

The pandemic has exposed us. Yes, in more ways than one. It has shown us who our star team members and leaders are, who is facing challenges, personally and professionally, what we have, what we need, and what we don’t need, where clarity exists in process and policy, and where our operational “kinks” need to be ironed out.


We’ve learned how strong our teams really are or are not. Organizational cultures have evolved, some fantastic, and some we do not recognize or want. We’ve exposed whether we are good leaders, and most of all we have exposed our personal resiliencies, adaptabilities, and our strengths.


From this exposure we are faced with some realities, and some choices... do we go back to the way things were, or do we use the opportunity for a fresh start?


What’s Next for You?

A Fresh Start sounds… well, just that, refreshing. We will of course have to deal with situations and decisions involving masking, safety, and vaccination policy and protocol, as well as employees who feel uncomfortable returning to the workplace (be cautious assuming risk that is not a bonified occupational requirement or where not backed up by public policy or legislation). Aside from those complex elements, there are some key questions to consider:

What do you want your workplace and workplace culture to be in this new era?

  • What do you want your workplace and workplace culture to be in this new era?

  • Is the office still required or could you optimize your space and reduce rent costs?

  • Is the organizational structure still effective or are changes needed to manage remote and/or hybrid staff?

  • Does your technology platform need to change to handle ‘the new normal’?

  • How are you going to manage accountability, beyond the ‘time and attendance’ mindset?

  • Are policies discovered to be lacking or insufficient?

  • Do supervisors and employees need training, development, or motivation?

  • Could you rethink how people and teams work and communicate?

  • Would a team-building event help to kick start our Fresh Start?

While some decisions will be yours and yours alone, communications and collaborations with coworkers, employees, and other key stakeholders will be key! Have a plan, monitor and adapt as you move through it, and most importantly remember that everyone has their own personal experience, fears, insecurities and beliefs… an open door, mind, and patience will go a long way towards making the Fresh Start come to life.


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Bruce Weippert is the co-founder and president of TAP Strategy & HR Consulting, a boutique-style management consulting firm specializing in strategy, HR services and Helping Businesses Succeed.