For business owners grappling with how and when to reopen their companies, one thing is apparent: Despite what local and national leaders may say, governments don’t open economies–economies reopen when citizens feel safe enough to resume their usual activities. And it’s possible many of your employees aren’t there yet.
Covid cases and deaths are still on the rise in some areas even as states begin to loosen their social distancing restrictions. So it’s not entirely surprising that in a recent survey conducted by global human resources consulting firm Mercer of 735 U.S. employers, more than 45 percent said they are already struggling with workers who are reluctant to return to their workplaces because of fear of getting sick.
Thus, the pandemic has created a monumental dilemma no leaders have faced before–reopening means asking your team to run the risk they may be exposed to the virus; staying closed any longer means you may never have the means to open again.
It’s a dilemma Peter Newell is thinking a lot about. As a former Army colonel, he spent many years on the frontlines in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, forced to tackle ill-defined challenges in high-risk situations, often without the resources he needed. When he retired in 2013, he redeployed that expertise into his company, BMNT, a problem-solving and innovation shop that primarily serves large businesses and government agencies. BMNT is a two-time honoree on Inc.’s list of the fastest-growing companies, pulling in $8 million in revenue in 2019. As the world began shutting down in response to the coronavirus, the pace at his 50-person company only increased: Clients wanted help figuring out how to adapt to and work in a post-Covid environment.