Managing in these vaccinated times. I am continually surprised by how the global pandemic and other recent events have changed business or, at least, my understanding of how businesses work. I used to think that change is the only constant. These days it seems that Change has been joined by Uncertainty. Consider these examples:
Staff Covid Vaccinations
Should companies require their workers to be vaccinated? That’s a question facing countless managers. Would doing so discriminate against those workers who, for medical, political, or religious reasons, are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine? Do companies have an obligation to protect customers and/or other employees from unvaccinated ones? These and other trade-offs brook no easy resolutions. Only time and further experience will provide firm answers. For now, Managers would do well to remain as flexible and open minded as possible.
Should businesses return to their “bricks and mortar” offices? If so, should they require that employees, now accustomed to remote work, be at their company provided desks Monday through Friday as before? Like staff vaccinations, the trade offs are many. Are workers happier working from home, at least part time? Are employees more productive working on site with colleagues? Will company-loyalty suffer if remote work continues? Can companies that have been successful since March 2020 reasonably justify the need for onsite work? Who knows? I can only say that one-size-fits-all employee requirements of the past may prove costly in a post Covid economy.
Does your business plan assume a regional or national rollout? If so, be sure that your marketing efforts consider trending US political and social justice trends. Formerly topics to be avoided at all costs, companies that turn a blind eye to these (often sensitive) trends can pay a dear price. Consider Topps, a company that has been printing baseball cards and similar gift items since 1951. Topps’ ill-conceived sticker card campaign for the Korean band, BTS has ensured it lasting racist infamy.
Now, more than ever, managers and entrepreneurs would do well to seek out the advice of others. Talk to fellow business owners, board members, consultants, or mentors. Seek out their explanations and opinions. As the saying goes, information is the (only) resolution of uncertainty.
Mr. Dragone has spent the past twenty years as an acting/consulting CFO for a number of start-ups in a wide range of industries. Peter’s prior experience is that of a serial entrepreneur, managing various start-up and turnaround projects. He was a co-founder of Keurig.