A plan to return to work?

Hopefully by now most business will be thinking about a return to work (unless they have never been away!). This will be a real test for a number of people – coming back from a period of uncertainty we have never seen in a generation.

I hope that most businesses will have had help with the Government furlough scheme of loans, to keep them afloat. But those schemes will come to an end and we have to get back to the day to day operations – and quickly.

I have wondered how this might best be approached and I think there are some key points:

  1. Relentless Optimism. I think after this period of devastation we will need to take a confident optimistic approach. Doom and gloom is not going to cut it. We will need to find the positives. That is not to say we should sugar coat problems, but the over-arching throats must be to ‘go again’.
  2. Competitive Re-tooling. The world is going to be a different place in many markets and it is the time to look at the market’s the business is in and consider if it ‘works’. By this I mean – is the financial return good enough. I talked in a previous blog about the juice being worth the squeeze and that is the point. We may need to re-evaluate what we do. We should have done this before but the landscape was different then. Now is the time to re-think the make up of our firms. Re-tool, reorganise and re-focus.
  3. Communication. This should never have gone away, but our businesses must communicate. With it’s staff, suppliers and customers / clients. This will become more important than ever. In my world of a service industry the focus (toward clients) must be ‘how can we help you post covid19?‘. We need to make life easier for our clients and customers – they too will have their problems.
  4. The Way We Work. This is likely to be a turning point – it may be forced upon us, with rules on social distancing and cleaning regimes. Now is the time to be thinking about how we have run our businesses over the last 7 weeks or so. What has been good? What didn’t work? What might work in the future. Are there some things we have grown used to and operate smoothly now that we can actually keep? If this is the case we can look at the physical assets we use – offices, cars et al.
  5. Cash. That adage about turnover being vanity, profit is sanity but cash is king is so very true now. Business needs cash and cashflow forecasts – probably for the next 12 months. Realistic forecasts – as there could be rough seas ahead.
  6. Grit and determination. Now more than ever we need to have a goal. Something to aim at, it may be short term or long term – but goals help set a structure. I used Traction in my previous job – and the monthly, quarterly, annual scorecards are probably more relevant than ever. They need to have stretch goals but be realistic. They need to be measurable and people need to be accountable. The future has no room for passengers (it never did actually).

These aren’t the complete list and other people will have other ideas, but we should start somewhere. The planning should have started last week, but now is ok too. Bu plan we must.

I am really positive about the future. As the saying goes, what is the alternative?

4 thoughts on “A plan to return to work?

  1. Totally with you on all of that. I used to spend ages analysing what had gone wrong when I was a journo, but I’d rather analyse what can go right now! Not that test-fail-learn isn’t useful, but I’m doing business not writing history books…

    It will be tough and there are bound to be some undeserving victims in all of this. But…things were going to change anyway (digital/environmental/demographic etc), this is going to accelerate some of that and get rid of some of the indulgent fluff/snake oil.

    It was, is and always will be about the value of what you do, whether that’s driving to work or delivering a service. I’ve enjoyed some home working because there’ve been fewer distractions, missed the collaborative stuff with colleagues (which has been hard, even with Teams/Zoom etc) but relished projects where you instantly know you can make a difference. Passion overcomes so many hurdles.

    But someone tell me how I can download a coffee!

    1. Entirely agree Richard. Things had to change, what we do next will define us. But there is no point looking back and hoping a return to those times.
      Hope you are keeping well, when those coffee shops open up again we must grab one – obviously we’ll have to sit at different tables, but we can text!

      1. All good here Tim & just kicked off a big regional project. A distant coffee would be great!

  2. Good street wisdom here Mr Garratt. Of all these most salient points, I think the reference to cash is very pertinent…. perhaps we will need to reconfigure how we manage client debt. Very few businesses will be cash rich in the short term, and debtor days are likely to climb. Organisations that can offer bartering, skill swapping, labour credits, asset sharing, and other methods of exchanging value could gain significant market leverage. Be an interesting conundrum for the HMRC on the annual return though….

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