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Is your workforce ready to return to the office post-COVID-19?

guest column:Emmanuel Zvada OVER the past few months, millions of employees worldwide have been working remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now that restrictions are easing in many countries, many organisations are now making plans to bring their workforce back to the office. The good question to interrogate is, after so many months working remotely, how do you shift your business back to the office while keeping employees safe and informed? In this new post-COVID-19 era, you will need to make many considerations about how to ensure your employees and customers are safe, but also about how to continue operating your business in the most effective way possible that is profitable. If you want to keep your workplace safe and productive in upcoming months, now is the time to implement a strategy that will help your decision-makers tap into the collective wisdom of your workforce before they come back to work on full swing. Bringing your workforce back to the office is no small task especially when you were not fully in touch with them during this pandemic. The sooner you accept the new normal and start preparing for it, the better. Reassess your business strategy The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses and individuals to re-evaluate their priorities. Organisations should take a take a look at what challenges they are facing, their restrictions etc. The reason for checking is that you might need to make some changes in the workspace to allow for workstations to be farther apart. This is the time to bring together your executive team and use those lessons learnt during the pandemic to reconfigure your business and operating models for a new reality. As we shift from response to recovery, the key for senior leaders is to make strategic decisions that will lead them to a renewed future state. This crisis has created an opportunity for organisations to reset some of their goals and ambitions as they recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Realign your cost structure to increase productivity The growth of an organisation depends not only on how much it generates with its products or services, but also how much it spends. A company can sell a lot and please its customers, but if its costs exceed (or are too close) to the amounts collected, it will not grow. No company can totally avoid the impact of increasing costs but they can manage them. Look across the whole organisation and differentiate the strategically-critical “good costs” from the non-essential “bad costs”. If an industry is facing massive disruption and change, marginal efficiency savings can no longer guarantee survival and success. The key priority in strategic cost reduction is targeting resources where they can earn the best return, rather than just cutting costs in itself. Reflect on present working practices and adjust As the nature of the work environment continues to change, new trends have emerged hence there is need for organisations to reflect on present working practices and adjust. It’s a fact that being away from the office has allowed employers to r