April 22 2020
By: Shawn M. Galloway
Smart organizations, where operations were ceased or minimized, are planning and preparing for the financial best case, worst case and the most likely scenarios for beginning the pursuit of the new normal life after this pandemic. Since no one knows precisely how this will play out across the remainder of 2020, it is critical that all three scenarios are given equal attention. Which scenario are you planning for to bring operations back to normal after COVID-19? It should be all of them.
Best Case Scenario — An individual company can return quickly to normal operations. An urgency to get back to normal cadence of work is likely and so will be confusion over the priorities of production versus safety. Employees are quickly returned to their at-work tasks.
Worst Case Scenario — The stay home orders are extended or are reinstituted if the virus creates a second wave of mass infection. Operations are either still ceased or continue with a skeleton crew of employees. Layoffs, divestiture of parts of the business and/or liquidating some assets is likely.
Most Likely Scenario — Slow return to normal with employees brought back in a prioritized, phased or staggered approach. CDC's guidelines on social distancing, utilizing face masks and washing of hands frequently still in place until further notice. Jobs and the working environment will need to be redesigned to accommodate this reality for the foreseeable future.
Planning for these three scenarios should be given immediate priority. Once the future becomes clear, there will be a financially motivated, immediate push for action. Organizations and their safety leadership must be prepared to present options and guidance.
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Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.