How to build an organization-wide post pandemic playbook

Oct 23, 2020 - 9 min read
Amanda Fawcett
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Businesses around the world have adapted quickly to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. As we’ve adjusted to remote offices, Zoom meetings, and everything in between, we’ve seen notable changes to our industries and infrastructures that will likely last long after COVID-19 subsides.

Life and business will not look the same once the lockdowns are lifted. So, how do we prepare for that time? How do we create a blueprint for a post-pandemic response? That’s what we’ll be discussing today.

Read on as we explore the key priorities for a post-pandemic playbook and the factors that we need to consider as we plan for our return to a “new normal”.

Today, we will discuss:


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What is a post-pandemic playbook?

A post-pandemic playbook is a return-to-business plan for how your business will function once the COVID-19 lockdowns are lifted. A good playbook accounts for

  • employee needs (leaders, communication, HR),
  • your workplace (health and safety in the office),
  • and the new landscape of your industry (technology, stimulus, insurance).

A post-pandemic playbook should coordinate people and processes to ensure effective communication, monitor health & safety, and set reasonable milestones for a new normal.


Your employees, partners, and clients have all adjusted to a new normal of remote working. Employees may wonder how their work lives will function and what expectations, new and old, have shifted. Clients may have questions about your new processes.

What will our work space look like when this is over? How will our industry evolve? Do we need to reassess metrics, technologies, or policies to address post-pandemic concerns? What does this organization need to do to prepare for a new reality?

A post-pandemic playbook accounts for these questions by evaluating potential changes and employee concerns to construct a thoughtful strategy for moving forward. This ensures that all people are on the same page and that any damage done to your organization is addressed effectively.


Priorities for a post-pandemic response

A post-pandemic response plan must account for all facets of your organization. Recovery will differ nation by nation, state by state. But in general, the best post-pandemic playbook addresses each of these intersecting factors, which we will discuss in detail below.

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People, organization, and process

The way that people organize and communicate has forever changed. It is important to address shifted employee needs to build a strong, ethical post-pandemic model. The following areas have been identified as the key employee investments for an effective post-pandemic plan.

  • Leadership models. Management is far more decentralized than years past, and this may be the new normal. We need to shift to dynamic, effective leadership models that may require retraining at the management level.
  • Remote working policies. Shelter in place policies are well established now, and many employees have adjusted, especially those with children or health concerns. Organizations should develop lasting policies that protect and empower employees to seek lifestyles that work for them.
  • Reskilling. Every market and industry has changed, and employees may require reskilling or want to seek new avenues in their work. L&D teams and HR should remain invested in reskilling as essential.
  • Mental health support. In light of these trying times, organizations must develop programs for mental health concerns related to work from home stressors, work life balance, and crisis. Support for mental health should not be seen as an additive, but an essential facet of effective business.
  • Communication. A distributed, socially distanced workforce will require new approaches to communication, everything from internal communication, to brand management, and PR. Organizations should think creatively about collaboration spaces.
  • Workplace organization. A return to the office will require reshuffling of a physical space. Everything from the water cooler to cubicles to conference rooms should be considered with a new lens.
  • PPE and health concerns. Businesses must address how they will distribute PPE and keep workplaces clean. An ethical plan accounts for the safety of employees, visitors, as well as hired cleaners entering your spaces.
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Technology

No matter what industry you are in, technology investments have changed. New employees or retraining is required to meet new demands. The following areas have been identified as the key technology investments for an effective post-pandemic plan.

  • Data Management: Company-standard platforms may need to adjust to account for dying legacy systems of the past. We need to account for the next-generation of data management, including ease of data access, governance, licenses, and security.
  • Resilience and business continuity. Executives and stakeholders consider how their organization will address mobility and access to technological services during unplanned scenarios.
  • Digital markets. COVID-19 has accelerated our dependence on digital business models. A post pandemic environment must place digital acceleration as a priority depending on your organization’s needs (no-contact delivery, subscription business models, etc.)
  • Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity attacks have worsened during lockdowns, everything from phishing to DDoS attacks. All businesses need to reassess their cybersecurity technologies to protect employee, client, and partner privacy.
  • Cloud technologies. Nearly every organization should consider a migration to the hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, or private clouds solutions. This also calls for security defenses and reformed policies around cloud data storage.
  • Machine learning and AI. Machine learning can aid in all sorts of business stresses or demands, including data analytics and automation. AI-based projects or processes can help revamp scaling and accelerate business.
  • Remote working software, hardware, and tools. Your IT team should build tool kits and offer technologies for effective work from home experiences. This can include tools that enable team members to communicate, share information, get trained, and seek help when needed.
  • Learning and Development technologies. Employees around the world express anxiety about being phased out, and many have been asked to retrain. It is the responsibility of an organization to provide accessible, creative L&D opportunities to support employee demands, such as online courses. Check out Educative for Business for creative L&D solutions.
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Political landscape and legislation

The landscape of the world directly impacts business and how we plan. We cannot necessarily predict how the political landscape will impact our business decisions, but it is an important factor. The following issues are important for CEOs, legal executive, and public relations employees to consider:

  • Trust in institutions. The lack of trust in large institutions is waning in current times, and companies are under greater pressure, and often scrutiny, for misstepping. It’s important to consider the political climate and organization-wide responses to critical issues.
  • Public health concerns. The debate over public health versus privacy is at an all time high. Concerns of employees and customers alike are testing privacy policies and call for creative strategies.

Business models

What makes a business model successful may have shifted, both the long and short term. The following areas have been identified as the key business model issues to address in an effective post-pandemic plan.

  • Talent acquisition. A breadth of knowledge is now more valuable than a depth of knowledge. If your company is looking to hire new talent, you should consider creative outlets. The traditional hiring & education pipeline is less reliable than years past.
  • Subscription-based models. Subscription-based business models have had great success during the past year, as they aid with recurring revenue and the distribution of digital goods. Organizations should consider new ways to encourage subscription models.
  • Global communication. Borders may not reopen for a while, and supply chains will suffer. It is important to consider how resources play into your business outlook as we continue to rely on global communication for business success.
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Post-pandemic playbook checklist

The requirements for your post-pandemic plan will differ depending on the requirements, size, and scope of your organization. But generally, all of these different facets should be accounted for when building out a playbook before workers return to the office.

  • Employees that will to return to work
  • Workspace organization/social distancing in the office
  • Health and safety policies (OSHA, PPE)
  • Employee logistical concerns
  • Policies for remote work & working parents
  • Benefits, compensation adjustments, stimulus
  • Policies around visitors and vendors
  • Learning and Development plans
  • Guidelines for a future outbreak
  • Guidelines for business travel and commuting
  • Policies for handling authorities and Public Health Officials
  • Taxes (credit and deferrals)
  • Changes to insurance policies and claims
  • Mental health for stress or distressed situations

Next step for businesses

The bottom line is that a post-pandemic plan is needed now. If your organization has not begun planning for a return-to-office playbook, you should consider taking the first steps as soon as possible.

A good first step is to research what similar organizations have developed for a post-pandemic plan.

Consider sending out surveys to your employees to gauge their desires for working from home policies.

Then begin fine tuning your playbook for your recovery phase, using the checklist from above. You want to consider the best case, middle case, worst case scenarios.

The following four guidelines are essential for a successful post-pandemic playbook. Consider each carefully as you construct your plan.

  1. Set people as your priority. The health and safety of your employees and customers should come first.
  2. Define your business destination. Build a guideline and vision for a successful recovery. Without a clear end goal, it is hard to plan ahead.
  3. Outline small, responsible outcomes. This path to success must be defined by small, responsible outcomes. Stakeholders at each stage of recovery should be considered over large-scale functional processes.
  4. Safely test out new approaches. To begin the transition to your end goal, safe attempts must be made to test out new strategies.
  5. Gain wisdom from others. Learn from the successes and failures of other organizations to create a flexible plan that meets the guidelines from above.

Wrapping up

We hope this article has encouraged and inspired a responsible approach to post-pandemic planning. Every organization around the world has the unique opportunity to reshape their company’s culture and policies. And many companies around the world are already rewriting their processes to be people-centric and future-proof. Don’t fall behind!

To learn more about how Educative can aid your post-pandemic playbook, check out Educative for Teams. Reskilling is an essential part of returning to the office, and our courses and learning environments are tailor-made for software developers to help your team stay on the cutting edge.

Empower your employees to build for the future and feel confident when they return to a new normal.


WRITTEN BYAmanda Fawcett

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