Yehaa, your organisation is returning to work. In some States sooner than in others, yet all will face the same challenges in post Covid-19 recovery.
Some will have had to make hard decisions as you remained operational as an essential services, others may be rebuilding from an enforced shut down. Noone will be returning to where they were at the beginning of this crisis.
The future will not be business as usual. Post Covid-19 recovery will require Boards and executive teams to switch focus, from survival to restructuring and rebuilding. What the future looks like for the social sector will only emerge over the next couple of years.
First and foremost it is important to remember that even while you seek to recover or rebuild, the risk of an outbreak of Covid-19 still exists. While your Board and executive are looking to make business decisions; remain diligent and follow guidelines from your State health organisations. They are the experts; not staff, not the media and most certainly not social media.
If there was ever a time to demonstrate how ‘your people are your greatest asset’ then it is now. A return to work may not be as simple as rocking up and grabbing a chair. Workplaces will look different. New hygiene and personal distancing guidelines will be in place. They may not be returning to that which they left. Many will bring with them social and emotional issues as a result of working from home. Providing managers with the tools to display empathy, encourage adaptable practices and to provide mentoring and coaching will be a key strategy. Ensure your organisation provides employees and volunteers with access to an Employee Assistance Program.
Engage with your people. Before making any major decisions about post Covid-19 return to work, take time to canvas your people, seek their ideas and input and enable them to be a part of your future. Dictating terms will lead to discomfort and increased stress.
As organisations return to work it may be time to review policies and procedures. How well do these enable remote working from home, flexible working conditions, access to employee support, health, safety and hygiene. Most importantly, it is timely to take the lessons from the past few months and update business continuity plans.
Download a free post Covid-19 return to work check list.
Re-evaluate projects and even service delivery. What is important for mission, vision and impact? As the Prime Minister outlined in his recent speech to announce JobMaker, do everything you can to make the ship go faster.
Effective communication, within your organisation and to external stakeholders is vitally important. Well communicated ideas and direction provide people with assurance the management have a vision, a direction and are providing leadership. Others take these messages and share them, building even greater confidence in the capacity and capabilities within your organisation. Funding follows confidence!
Reconnect with your family of supporters, those within your environment, volunteers, funding bodies, co-agencies, suppliers, customers, clients, community, government, philanthropists and donors. Provide them with updates, answer their questions and invite them to help you rebuild. Now is not the time to try to stand alone.
Last, but not least, go back to the drawing board with financial management. Many social agencies have incurred additional costs while operating during Covid-19, while others have lost revenue while being closed down. Strip everything out of your pre-Covid budgets and start again. Negotiate with suppliers and providers. Seek to bring funding forward. Set strategic goals around revenue, financial surplus, costs and investment.
John Coxon has guided boards and managers in social agencies for the past two decades. His building blocks suite of diagnostic tools and 4 Steps to Success model help ensure you invest in solutions that help you. Reach out to John