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Preparing for the unknown

How To Prepare … When You Don’t Know What You’re Preparing For

One of the most talked-about aspects of business is the issue of preparedness. Millions, perhaps billions of dollars every year are spent on making sure businesses can handle anything from a major earthquake to a mass-casualty shooting. More prosaically, preparedness will often entail simply being ready for a data breach or a major political change, but the bottom line is the same – it’s essential to be ready.

So the fact that we are more than six months deep in the defining crisis of this generation, and have many questions still unanswered, is naturally concerning. Businesses the world over are still trying to establish their post-pandemic plans, and are running up against one major question above all: how do you prepare for the time “after” a situation that has no defined endpoint right now?

Do you make the switch to “work from home where possible”… permanently?

Though no-one would have welcomed the circumstances in which it arose, it feels like we have been seeing the ground being laid for a “work from home revolution” for some time. There’s a lot to like about the concept: less time is eaten up by commutes; employees get to work in comfort; and in a very pandemic-specific benefit, the likelihood of transmission is reduced. For any business, there are definite advantages.

It’s the “where possible” aspect of the question that takes some thinking. Any business looking to progress will be looking to recruit. It’s hard, in most sectors, to onboard an employee remotely. So, do you keep your current premises for the benefit of new recruits, or do you look to work from a smaller building, factor in training costs such as LearnUpon LMS Pricing, and redirect any savings into better avenues? Signs show that remote working can aid productivity, so you might find that embracing the change permanently is a wise move.

When do you look for a “return to normality”?

Since the beginning of the crisis, one of the most-used phrases has been “when everything is back to normal”, although this may have tailed off as people start to question whether there will be a normal to return to. For businesses that cannot work remotely, or which see some benefit in keeping the “before” ways going, the question of how and when to return is a tricky one. 

The smart money is that there won’t be a vaccine until 2021; the idea of herd immunity is very shaky given signs that previously infected people can be reinfected. If you want to plan for a return to the office, you’d best accept that it might only be possible with a radically altered floor plan to allow for social distancing, and the wearing of masks.

The truth is that, with an unclear future ahead, businesses will be well-advised to take the initiative where possible, establishing certainty where they can by changing their practices to take account of the situation. While we wait for positive news that will allow some normality to return, the smart thing right now is to play the hand we are dealt.

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