Are you ready to return to work? This is a hot topic around the world.

Closer to home, Toronto Mayor probably summed it up best in his May 1st interview with CP24 when he spoke about Toronto’s progress: “we are obviously closer to the end of that [12 week] program and the beginning of the opening up than we are to the beginning”.

There are a myriad of business considerations when trying to assess your level of readiness under the new normal, or a “2.0 version” of the workplace. Change Management is a hot or cold topic with many organizations. It has rapidly become a Hot topic for survival in 2020!

From an HR/Recruitment perspective, we have asked our clients to consider the following:

What is your pandemic/COVID-19 protocol or action plan, and how do you keep your staff and clients safe?

You may not need to provide PPE’s to your frontline workers, or install plexiglass at the cashier, but at a minimum, you will need to consider social distancing measures at the factory or office. This could require moving furniture around, staggering work weeks/hours or administering COVID-19 tests when they are readily available. The CBC wrote about this last week.

If you are in a more regulated industry, you will need something more formal like the protocol for all construction sites in Canada (with links to province specific guidance at the end of document). Your company may not need such an extensive document, but your employees, clients, and even insurance company will want to know that you have given it some thought. Our insurance broker already asked us about our policy!

How will your workplace look moving forward, and what skills or talent do you need in the new world?

According to a recent Bloomberg article, 80% of BMO’s staff may switch to a blended home-office arrangement – how would this work in your company? If you enabled remote-based work during the past few months, your staff may have been more productive working remotely, than they were pre-pandemic at the office. For some of you, that could mean less office space, more remote work or flex-work arrangements.

For others, it could mean the need for new skills such as the elimination of your typical face-to-face sales meetings with virtual ones, as an example. Do you have the right sales staff for that, or can you provide the necessary training to get there?

Do you have a resource plan to ramp up your staff and operations, and who will you lean on for that?

If you are lucky enough to have an internal HR department, they will be busy enough with the above. It will be an employers’ market, as more than 7 million Canadians applied for the CERB up to May 8th. Consider the number of resumes and applicants that will be applying for your job openings. Do you have the time to screen, and interview them all? A good professional-level hire can take upwards of 60-90 days to recruit during the best of times.

Find a recruitment firm that is willing to partner with you, not just to help you with the recruitment, but also on the financial side….you are just returning to work, the right firm will be flexible on payment terms to ensure you are able to ramp up, while keeping your cashflow in check. Speaking of cashflow, talk to your recruitment partner about temporary or contract staffing. This will give you the flexibility to try out the new skills required before committing to your new hire with an offer of full-time employment.

Food for thought

Whether you are a business owner, manager or someone looking for work, we hope you found the above interesting, and at the very least, something to think about as you prepare yourself to return to work. Ontario is officially “re-opening” starting on Friday, May 8th, with other parts of Canada already ahead of the game. Are you ready?