What’s your Covid-19 ‘return to work plan?

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What’s your Covid-19 ‘return to work plan?

As the lockdowns begin to ease across Australia and some sectors open up, all businesses must start to prepare for re-opening, with the threat of Covid-19 still present.

By Michael Mekhitarian.

The last thing the Australian economy needs is a second wave of coronavirus. But the bottom line is that we have to come out from under the doona at some stage. And the Federal Government’s plan is to ease us forward in stages, and to slowly kick-start the economy again.

But in moving forward, there’s an expectation that all businesses will operate in a way that protects the health of staff, customers and the general public. We all have an important role to play.

What's your business plan?

To that end, the Federal Government’s National Covid-19 Coordination Committee has released a guide and planning tool for businesses. It focuses on three key areas: health, business adaptation and getting the right information.

It’s definitely a useful resource as you start to look at how your business will operate in the future.  You can download it here.

Let’s look at it from a general perspective.

  • PART 1   Health impact – keeping people safe
    Firstly, consider the health threat presented by Covid-19. Businesses must put specific focus on staff and customer hygiene, physical distancing and cleanliness of the premises. Plus, create a policy for how to deal with an outbreak, if it should occur
  • PART 2   Doing business in the ‘new environment’
    Secondly, all businesses need to accept the fact that Covid-19 is going to be around for a while, and this means, adapting accordingly.  We’ve been saying for awhile: ‘change is already here’.

Adapting to change

It will be interesting to see how the cafes, restaurants and pubs deal with limited patronage now that they are allowed to open with strict restrictions. This is not just about how they put this into practice, but how they manage to deliver good food and service and remain profitable while their capacity numbers are severely truncated. Of course, many have embraced the takeaway market already.

There was an interesting story in one of the weekend papers a few weeks ago, in it, a small bar owner estimated it would take him about $100,000 to restock, re-staff, and re-open. That’s a significant chunk of money, when his cashflow has been non-existent for the previous several weeks, and yet, presumably, he has still had to pay rent, electricity, insurance etc… the overheads remain the same, but – for the foreseeable future – his business can only serve a limited number of patrons at any time.

Take control of your business

These are very real conundrums which go directly to the heart of your business strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting, negotiating with suppliers, as well as designing and perhaps even training / upskilling your team. But the simple fact of the matter is that many businesses will have to ‘go back to the drawing board.’

What does that mean? Start fresh. Start anew. Re-assess and revise everything.

At ATB partners we have designed a 5-Step process for business that will help you through this process. This roadmap for ‘taking control of your business’ has been developed through years of working with small and medium and micro-sized-businesses, and our collective experience helping them to get the fundamentals right for solid and sustainable growth, as well as creating a ‘nimble’ business that can adapt to change. You can download our free e-book here.

Look for the opportunity

All of this doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom – in fact it could mean the birth of many new, amazing niche services and micro-businesses. It could be the start of some fruitful partnerships. It could simply mean doing what you do, but in a different format (online, maybe?) instead of in-person.

Every business is different. And every business has just been presented with a great opportunity.


  • PART 3   Access resources and help

The third part of the National Covid-19 Committee’s document encourages small businesses to know where to get the help they need.

In March, just prior to lockdown, there were changes to public health legislation and also work health and safety legislation. Both of these have a national framework and also state and territory-based regulations. It’s worthwhile knowing how these might affect your business – and even more importantly – knowing what your legal duties and obligations are. The penalties for non-compliance can be severe.

Don't go it alone

At ATB we have more than 60 years combined experience helping small businesses to navigate the ever-changing business landscape. We’ve helped businesses to survive and thrive – when technology disrupted their industry, when globalisation threatened their local markets, when the GFC plunged the economy into recession….

We can help your business adapt to Covid-19 too. Contact us.



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