COVID-19: Integrating workplace re-entry, reimagination and resiliency

Navigate the impact of COVID-19 and achieve longer-term business and workplace resilience.

When the COVID-19 outbreak occurred earlier this year, workers from around the world were sent home en masse. Organizations went into crisis management mode as they would have after any disruptive event.

But the unique characteristics of this pandemic rendered traditional disaster response approaches inadequate. Organizations needed to adapt their crisis management, business continuity and disaster recovery plans to accommodate an event that is prolonged, geographically dispersed and unpredictable.

The JLL “COVID-19 Experience Journey Map” visualizes the critical stages of response. More importantly, it demonstrates how organizations can strategically maneuver  through this journey to balance re-entry with the need to improve resiliency moving forward.

The complexities of re-entry

Four key entities have decision-making power over different aspects of re-entry:

  • Governments – Timing of different types of businesses reopening
  • Landlord / building owners – Facility readiness, building capacity and entry/exit protocols
  • Occupiers/tenants – Strategies for who comes back, office capacity, social distancing floorplans, cleaning and communication on re-entry protocols
  • Individuals – The ultimate decision-maker on coming back

The distributed nature of re-entry decision-making creates significant complexity. Furthermore, the re-entry process is extremely specific for every organization and their unique circumstances. Finally, the re-entry process will not be a “once and done” – it will likely be spread across multiple phases of re-entry and possibly re-exit. Organizations need to consider:

  • How to ensure stakeholder alignment – Critical functions including IT, human resources, health and safety, medical advisory and real estate must work in conjunction with enterprise leadership.
  • How to apply the new rules to the workplace – New social distancing protocols that need to be implemented in the workplace include modifications to facility management, cleaning and janitorial routines, and new standards for employee safety.
  • How to effectively manage the supply chain – Steps must be taken to ensure there are adequate supplies of masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment.
  • How to provide effective guidance to employees –  Plans must be developed to communicate behavior changes and help employees to feel safe when they return to the office.
Re-imagining the future

Organizations also need to consider the long-term impacts of the pandemic such as  paradigm shifts in business models and workforce behaviors, and how they should reinvent themselves to be more resilient in the future.

So, how do you set your organization up to flourish in the future? How do you maintain and accelerate your market position? And how do you do this in light of the significant downturn in the global economy? Strategies include:

  • Aligning and re-shaping business models with the new economic realities
  • Instilling greater business agility and flexibility
  • Increasing the focus on operational efficiency and financial performance
  • Supporting the remote distributed workforce with requisite infrastructure
  • Accelerating adoption of digital technologies and advanced analytics

Overall, this means organizations need to balance short-term re-entry requirements with the long-term goals of stronger performance and resiliency. Forward-thinking organizations are taking an integrated approach to re-entry, cost-cutting and reimagination of the workplace.

©2020 Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc. All rights reserved. All information contained herein is from sources deemed reliable; however, no representation, warranty or guarantee is made to the accuracy thereof or results. The information is merely a suggestion and should be implemented at the sole discretion of each individual.