Post covid-19 lockdown in India: plan your next steps

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published on 12 May 2020 | reading time approx. 6,5 minutes

 

While the lockdown extension has been announced by the Government of India, till 17 May 2020, relaxations have simultaneously been provided in several states and districts, thus compelling businesses to begin planning their next steps before operations begin post lockdown. With the constant extensions for regulatory filings, government and state regulatory notifications being released, companies are finding it difficult to cope with the list of requirements needed to begin operations in a post covid-19 lockdown world. 

 

 

In order to help companies plan for the above, we have provided a list of important features which can be implemented and which steps taken now could help in planning the post lockdown measures in your companies. These measures can be combined with changes based on business environment, internal discussions and customized approach of your company. Post lockdown, the new “normal” will have to include an all new approach to your business operations considering that the covid-19 situation will not be reverting back to usual way of life any time soon. The below will provide tips to plan in advance.

 

Human Resources Management Tasks

District wise regulations have been made where sections of the city are being categorized into containment, red, orange, and green zones, which determine the badly affected covid-19 areas and the consequent mandatory norms to be followed in these areas. Similarly, it becomes important to prepare HR lists for the company to identify where your employees would be travelling to the office from, whether it is from these districts, which employees are travelling by public transport, what health risks exposes them the most, etc.
 

It is therefore important to be able to make an Employee Assessment Master-list which categorizes the employees into Red; Yellow and Green and make practical policies and internal guidelines based on the same. The list will provide a calculated assessment of your available resources in order to manage your next steps which could include the policies and employee timelines which have to be prepared and sent out to the employees, updating them about new internal regulations. A sample of how this should be categorized and dealt with is as below: 

 

 

  • Further, divide each internal team into two/three groups which can alternatively come to office so as to maintain minimum number of employees, or working in shifts.
  • Based on the allocation of the employee make arrangements for seating keeping a minimum gap of 1 empty cabin or having safe distance of 2m – 6m between each other.
  • Create a covid-19 Task Force (CTF) within your organization which will be responsible for providing clear instructions to all employees, creating action plans and policies and protocols in case positive covid-19 cases are found within the organization. They would be overall responsible for the operations during this critical period. This force should have members from each department.
  • Make a manual clearly stating the procedures for operation during crisis period such as : instructions for internal meeting and external meetings, visitor policy, safety procedure, hygiene etiquettes, social distancing norms, work from home policies, lunch timings to maintain distance, consent for taking temperature checks and medical information of employees and their families, etc.

 

Operational and Administrative Management Tasks

  • Administrative persons should visit the office initially for first 2 days after lock down and arrange all necessary means to avoid chaos.
  • Prepare a flow chart for the movement of goods, employees and visitors; identify the hotspot points such as restrooms, entrance, smoking area, canteens, etc which needs to regularly sanitized. Accordingly, put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the office. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled. Also, display posters promoting hand-washing and guidelines for hygiene etiquettes to be maintained.
  • Increase your housekeeping contract for two/three times in a day with routine sanitization to be ensured for factory common areas/shop floor /office  for covid-19. Use alcohol sanitizer or sodium hypochlorite solutions.
  • If your office is part of a common sharing office space, encourage employees not to use lifts or common areas, wherever possible.
  • Arrange for private shuttle services for employees  so that they can avoid public transport for the next 2 - 3 months. If the same cannot be implemented, ensure that company buses should have tagged usable seats with atleast  2m distance from each other. Otherwise, recommend personal vehicles only.
  • Buy an Infrared Thermometer for gate & security staff for preliminary check-up of all entries. Hand sanitation and temperature checks before entering the office premise should be made compulsory for all visitors without exposing the dispenser itself.
  • Avoid receiving hard copies of documents from outside. Shift to digitization, wherever possible.

 

Legal Management Tasks

  • Ensure your health and safety policies are updated with covid-19 precautionary measures as  recommended by the Government of India.
  • Ensure your locality comes under allowed area of operations by respective state government as the list of areas are constantly changing. Take necessary permissions, if any. Start conversations with local police station/authority whose consent may be necessary before lockdown has been lifted.
  • Check whether any signed contract/agreement require any amendment in any clauses pertaining to continuous service contracts, delivery timelines, liability clauses etc. due to delay by lockdown. Approach respective party to contract pro-actively in order to agree on new terms and conditions or renegotiate contractual obligations.
  • Ensure all legal options available for financing via share capital, external commercial borrowings or bank loan etc. Analysis on various options available along with timelines beforehand would be helpful in planning and avoiding any financial instability in near future.
  • Prepare or update IT security, confidentiality policies for more work from home operations. Also, ensure informed consent, data privacy and protection procedures, policies are in place and all employees are informed of how their data is being treated, kept and for what purposes, especially during the post lockdown phase.

 

Finance Management Tasks

  • Identify all extended deadlines of compliances to avoid any unnecessary interest or penalty burden. Prepare a due date calendar and keep updating the same based on recent announcements by various authorities.
  • Pay off your outstanding tax liabilities to even avoid the reduced interest liability announced by authorities to the extent feasible.
  • Prepare a detailed analysis of the total expenses, bifurcating it into different categories as explained below:

  • Revisit the budget for next 9-12 months, but not only one plan, rather create various scenarios, preferably three business case (such as high, medium and low impacts of slowdown). Also, re-consider investment plans for the near future.
  • Implement stricter receivables management plan. Anything which was outstanding more than 90 days should be given priority for realization. All current outstanding should be followed up by compassionate/caring calls to customers.
  • Make a list of all open sales orders to be executed and classify the orders where goods can't be supplied even post-lockdown due to restrictions on transport in specific states. Also, revisit the delay of lead time to complete each open order due to lockdown. Check in with your customers on whether the orders can be delayed or have to be cancelled as they won’t accept deliveries.
  • Last but not the least, prepare yourself for the next resilience need and create cash reserves for future.


Conclusion

The aim for all companies is to survive global recession and to begin business operations in a manner that is safe for all employees. All companies are recommended to constantly go through the updated notifications and guidelines provided by your State Government/Central Government and the World Health Organization as available on their respective websites. Accordingly, prepare the detailed checklist of tasks to be executed with responsible persons in your internal teams for business resilience post lockdown. In order to be able to face a new environment and thrive in business operations under the given circumstances, companies are advised to begin planning their next steps from now itself by taking the steps outlined above.

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