Preparing for when measures are relaxed

What will work-life with COVID-19 look like?

This may be too soon for some to even contemplate, but for others, thinking and planning ahead is how they are coping with lockdown and thinking of how their organisation can continue to survive.

Thinking and planning can also make us feel useful!

I’ve read many blogs, news posts and attended a few Zoom meetings all of where this has come up in conversation. I wanted to try and get some thoughts onto the blog and ask for your input, if I may?

With thanks to those who are already talking about this, Rachel Miller, Advita Patel, PRCA and Stephen Waddington.

Let’s be clear, we are not going to be able to deal with the virus until we have a vaccine, and we’re essentially going to be living with the virus, so everything we do, needs to be considered and health/safety needs to be a priority.

The Scottish Government has today (23 April) released this decision-making framework which states “We will need people in Scotland to continue to live their lives in ways that minimise the spread of the virus.”

The report went on to discuss options on restrictions: “We are likely to require that gathering in groups, for example in pubs or at public events, is banned or restricted for some time to come. And good hand hygiene and cough hygiene must become fundamental habits. We cannot afford to have exceptions. Each one of us will have to adapt to this as the new normal, at least until we are sure that we can be more protected by a vaccine or treatment.”

There are a number of things to consider right now and a number of things you can start to sketch and keep updating as the weeks roll on. Again, this is a collection of thoughts, questions and starting points. I’d welcome your input via email.

First thing’s first – everything revolves around people. People make communities and they determine an organisation’s reputation.

This post is a starter for ten and will undoubtedly be updated and modified as we learn more and as government starts to change its approach. As always if you need my strategic advice, please do get in touch.

  • Update your stakeholder map – also consider updating your framework for messages, tone, timing, content type
  • Set up a working group (most probably your PR/communication team) to start sense checking your different stakeholders. How are they feeling? Keep measuring this
  • Continue to communicate. Make sure the content you write/design is of value though. There is even more noise than normal online, and you need to be able to stand out.

Things you should consider or questions you may want to ask:


Depending on the make-up of your business, how has the virus affected the structure of the organisation?

Has your organisation changed its structure as a result?

Who are the decision-makers?

How has middle-management been included and how better can they be integrated?



Important to show strong leadership and reinforce decisions

Important to be inclusive

Leaders need to be visible and invested in its people

How is the management level made up and how will it support leadership?

Is further media training required?

How will you deal with staff who are caring for a relative?

What sort of mental health support is available?

Have you captured any great new activities people are doing and can integrate this is a new way of working? Think of the softer stuff!

Communicating staffing situation regularly and how this impacts contracts etc


#Budgets and targets

Rip up the rule book and start from the beginning. Your budgets and targets before COVID-19 are no longer relevant!

Cashflow – cash is still king

Will team/staff objectives and targets change?

How do salaries, pensions and bonuses change, if at all?



Maintain safety and security of your people

Safety of life

Safety of assets

Safety of cyber activity and data

Do you need any PPE equipment?

Do you have enough hand cleaning ‘materials’?


#Organisational adaption

Fixed costs e.g. property or finance agreements – renegotiate




Physical space if there is a return to work – bearing in mind the 2m distancing

Can flexible working be a new opportunity?


#Resilient workforce

How does your team feel?

What will make them feel safe and not nervous?

Will there be measures in place for team health checks?

Is there a plan in place for another wave and higher sick rate? What support do they need?

Community development – pockets of communities will have developed over the lockdown – figure out what they are and how they feel

Input into future plans – ensure you work collaboratively with your team as they are more likely going to buy into future plans and they are then more likely to succeed

What mental health support and potentially ‘re-induction’ can you bring to your teams?


#Scenario planning and risk assessment

Use examples firstly of what you used to do e.g. internal and external meetings, attending events, travel etc

Add examples of recent experience of working remotely and the challenges and opportunities you faced

Using your answers to the above questions, start to map out possible future scenarios and the ways execute/manage them



The Scottish Government report suggests staggered returns may be

When you will make decisions

Are you putting your own measures in place for specific timeframes

What about furloughed staff and their return to work or communicate with them


Thanks for reading this post. I hope it has helped you to start thinking about the future. I’d welcome your thoughts or indeed if you need my help mapping out the roadmap for your business, please get in touch.