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COVID-19: Restarting business post Circuit Breaker

Asking the right questions and addressing key issues

After two months of Circuit Breaker, Singapore businesses are eager to restart operations. Returning to work will not mean returning to work the way we left it, however. Businesses will need to balance restarting operations with ensuring safety, compliance and long term resilience.

Management teams will need to ask themselves the right questions and focus on addressing the key issues listed below, to arrive at the best decisions and actions to navigate the new normal.

Three key issues for management to focus on:

1. Complying with MOM’s advisory

The Ministry of Manpower issued an advisory titled “Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the workplace after Circuit Breaker period” on 9 May and it was subsequently updated on 12 May.

The advisory emphasises on:

A. Implementing a system of Safe Management Measures at workplaces
B. Reducing physical interaction and ensuring safe distancing at workplaces
C. Supporting contact tracing requirements
D. Required personal protective equipment and observing good personal hygiene
E. Ensuring cleanliness of workplace premises
F. Implementing health checks and protocols to manage potential cases

To learn how you can ensure compliance with this advisory and a seamless transition to return to work, do download our complete piece here.

2. Rethinking business models, embracing new ways of working

A vital question in the minds of business leaders is: What are the good practices during circuit breaker that can become the “new normal”?

  • With safe distancing measures, capacity of office premises is now significantly reduced. Remote and flexible work arrangements is now a reality that cannot be discarded even after the pandemic is over.
  • Measure productivity and efficiency levels. Identify areas that were compromised and the underlying reasons behind it. It may be due to inherent process weaknesses and inefficiencies that remote working helped discover.
  • The trend in hot desking, remote / flexible arrangements is not new and organisations should leverage on this situation to seriously consider ramping up its efforts. This situation has already provided a good opportunity to identify functional areas that can seamlessly work remotely without any major impact.
  • Review HR policies around remote working, appraisal and compensation, maintaining employee engagement levels as remote / flexible work arrangements become the “new normal”.
  • Contract tracing tools such as SafeEntry and TraceTogether can be used beyond the pandemic. It can help to account for staff wellbeing and whereabouts even for other crisis scenarios such as terrorist attacks, fire evacuation, etc.

How can the management rethink workplace policies including split operations and client delivery models and improve long-term resilience?

  • Even seasoned battle-hardened business continuity management practitioners consider this pandemic as unprecedented, and a challenge to their understanding of best practices. Consistent assessment is key!
  • The lines between business-as-usual and business continuity have softened. Further automation and enhancements of business-as-usual processes will help in raising the overall business resilience levels in the longer term. 
  • Reassure employees that their safety and wellbeing is of utmost importance

3. Practical actions for the restart

What are the other key imperatives that business leaders need to consider for their return to work strategy?

  • Equip your project management offices with tools and solutions to manage a progressive return to work
  • Conduct agreed-upon procedures (AUP) reviews to identify gaps in your organisation’s policy and standard operations procedures (SOP) in meeting authority’s requirements
  • Develop dashboards for online collation of data and reporting to local authorities
  • Review your organisation’s business resilience framework and identify areas for improvement
  • Review your technology applications and infrastructure capabilities to support remote working, recovery strategy and security controls

Contact us

See Hong Pek

See Hong Pek

Partner, Business Resilience, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9638 7021

Sigfried Ching

Sigfried Ching

Managing Director, Business Continuity and Resilience, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9736 0724

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