With the economy slowly re-opening, businesses are rapidly reviewing the health safety guidelines they need to follow. The decisions business leaders make and the procedures to be put in place will be critical to the well-being of their customers and employees. The last thing anyone wants to see is chaos that put everyone in the community at risk.
It is unlikely that businesses would be able to return to the pre-pandemic operating model. There are three generic scenarios.
- Redesigned onsite model
Businesses such as dental care, for instance, needs to be provided onsite and in person. This also applies for the manufacturing industry as specialized equipment is needed to do the production work.
The redesigned onsite model for these businesses needs to incorporate barriers to separate workers and to minimize the number of workers in a confined space. The latter poses a challenge to throughput if running a factory at full capacity is not viable. This could require an extra shift to accommodate demand.
The redesigned onsite model is unlikely what it used to be. On the weekend, I observed long queues waiting outside stores. While customers are excited to see stores re-opening again, the reality is there will be adjustments.
Businesses need to advise customers on the safety measures they put in place so that customers understand the impact on them, as well as to determine their choice of action.
- Hybrid model of remote and onsite work
With close to two months of working remotely, many businesses have introduced numerous changes to maintain operations.
Many businesses have been able to tighten their processes, making them more efficient. Others found that fewer meetings resulted in improvements from better planning and enhanced collaboration. If these interim changes have been working well, consider keeping them.
Noting that onsite work will be subject to safety constraints, modifications will be necessary. A hybrid model of onsite and remote work would make sense especially when the adopted changes for remote work have been effective.
Keep work that needs to be done on site to a minimal. Further, some employees might not be prepared or willing to return to work onsite. Personal commitment and concerns about exposure could affect their commitment and engagement. Be transparent about the safety measures and expectations.
The hybrid model is suitable where certain tasks are more effectively performed onsite to ameliorate impacts on customers.
- New innovative model
The pandemic has instigated a wave of innovation and people are generally more receptive to adopt something new. It is an opportune time for digitization.
Low code and no code process automation software has seen rapid adoption to eliminate paperwork, cumbersome hand-offs, and onerous manual work. The efficiency gain also improves customer service.
It is also a time when customers welcome self-service. While call centre agents are flooded with calls, customers are thrilled to switch to self-help as long as it is easy to navigate.
Launching an innovative model that accelerates how customers will be served in the midst of the changing pandemic outlook would be an excellent way to gain customers and build loyalty.Launching an innovative model that accelerates how customers will be served in the midst of the changing pandemic outlook would be an excellent way to gain customers and build loyalty. Click To Tweet
Any one of these models or a permutation of them would require the business and its employees to collaborate. Certainly, changes would need to be continually refined. Monitor performance closely for purposes of proactive adjustments. Lastly, communicate openly and frequently with customers and employees. They are eager to participate in the journey.