As we slowly start to transition into reopening, many business owners are anticipating significant changes—a new normal. While no one can know how things will turn out, we want to spend some time discussing what the post-coronavirus business world might look like.
What reopening may look like for businesses?
Because of the U.S. government’s governing system, reopening will look quite different—and take place on a different schedule—from one state to another. It will certainly not be like a light switch just flicking back on. Instead, the reopening process will be long and slow, with businesses or services phased in at different times, based on government-guided criteria. Even after the reopening begins, it is a definite possibility that we will experience a second wave of infections. If this occurs, it will likely impact government reopening policies, perhaps even causing the reopening to recede for some time.
How will the workplace look different after post-coronavirus?
There are several areas where a permanent change to the workplace is a definite possibility. These are what we see as some of the likely impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses:
Health & Safety Measures
Companies will need to make safety and cleanliness highly visible in the wake of the pandemic. Business owners and managers should make firm plans for making their place of work more secure for both workers and clients.
Demands for Work Flexibility
As a result of the pandemic, workplace flexibility that was previously considered impossible has been demonstrated to, in fact, be quite possible. This means many employees may call for a continuation of the flexible hours and remote work options they have had for the last few months. Some employers might find the financial benefits of continuing to allow their teams to work from home are well worth it.
If you have not already considered how you might space out your employees once the workplace reopens, now is the time to make a plan. Some employers are implementing split shifts to have fewer people in the office at once. The future may hold fewer jobs with the regular 9-to-5 hours to which many are accustomed.
Demand for Hazard Pay & Sick Leave
The legislation of family and sick leave policies during this pandemic may have a lasting impact. Because a situation such as this is a reality, employees may start to seek employers who put a higher emphasis on policies, including strong leave policies and hazard or premium pay. Employees with particularly high exposure risks (e.g., workers in retail, restaurants, and other service areas) are more likely to demand increased compensation during uncertain times.
We are in uncharted waters, but we are not without direction. In this environment, it is vital to have the right support. While we do not know precisely how the new business world will look, as the U.S. slowly reopens, a clearer picture will start to form. We encourage you to reach out to your Smith Schafer advisor to discuss what you can do to get your business on the firmest footing possible as you approach returning to the workplace.