During a crisis, there are immediate priorities as the situation changes day-to-day and at times, hour-to-hour. Understandably, post-crisis planning for business owners can often be over-looked. Post-crisis planning steps that should be taken once the crisis has substantially been resolved and returning to normal operations. The immediate post-crisis period is fraught with perils and the inevitability of chaotic displaced entities returning and looking to re-establish the norm.
There is an opportunity in this chaos for those who are prepared. Equally, there will be enterprises and organizations that skillfully survived the crisis, but by failing to have a post-crisis plan, they may become victims of the recovery.
Post-crisis planning needs to start early. It will help to inform the steps you take now to survive the crisis and place you in a position to move forward quickly and appropriately post-crisis.
In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, for which there is an unknown end date, it is advisable to have three distinct post-crisis plans:
June 1, 2020
The initial projection for the COVID-19 social restrictions was 8-12 weeks. That places a potential easing or removal of restrictions between May 1 and June 1.
September 1, 2020
Updated projections to be of optimum effect, strongly suggest the social restrictions to be in place through the summer.
January 1, 2021, or later
The COVID-19 pandemic may only be resolved with the development and deployment of a vaccine. This solution could mean that stringent social restrictions remain in place for a year or longer.
You need to look at these dates and consider what you need to do today and what you need to do moving forward to be prepared to return to normal operations should the pandemic be resolved in the near, intermediate or long term.
Prepare a Post-Crisis Plan
Key issues that should be addressed in your post-crisis plans are:
- The phased build-up of operations
- Re-engagement of personnel and/or the recruitment, hiring and training of new personnel
- Re-engagement with suppliers and customers, and
- Relationships and contracts with strategic partners (landlords, banks, other creditors and service providers).
Addressing these issues in a post-crisis plan will shape and guide how you navigate the crisis today. How should operations be scaled back now, and moving forward to allow for an optimum rebuild? Which personnel should be retained, which can be laid-off and how will you re-engage when the crisis concludes? How will you maintain and build upon your strategic partnerships and relationships as you scale back operations in preparation for re-engagement in a month, five months or a year?
Each of these issues comes with legal challenges that will need to be addressed. Employers have statutory obligations under the Employment Standards Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Province has made recent updates to the Employment Standards Code’s regulations and more may be on the way. Contracts, including leases, may need to be renegotiated or terminated due to frustration or force majeure clauses. Assets may need to be re-deployed or sheltered during the crisis.
Field Law can assist with each step of formulating your post-crisis plan. At some point, this will end. We are here to ensure you survive the storm and thrive when the sun shines again!