Post-COVID Recovery: The Real Challenge For Business Leaders

Gradually recuperating from the viral snare, the country may enter the post-COVID recovery phase soon, but is the business world ready to start all over again? Only, a leader can decide. Given how the wave of novel coronavirus has drastically limited and changed the way businesses operate, interpreting the post-COVID recovery phase as ‘going back to normal’ would be a colossal blunder.

Within 6-7 months, the employees have learned to work on SOS mode. New guidelines were set and new methods were adopted to keep the operations up-and-running smoothly. Their proactiveness to adapt to new working grounds has given them a sense of personal responsibility that may dwindle once they return to 9-to-5. Also, this uncalled-for calamity has made the business leaders discover the true strength in their teams, the lack of emergency-related protocols, and who to turn to for damage control. Hence, rather than going back to normal, the plan should be — building back better.

The key idea is to have a strategic approach to recovery and to learn from the COVID-19 crisis and set new challenges. Though the targets and goals remain unchanged, the ways to achieve them can be redirected, keeping economic recovery and the company’s weaknesses in mind. The post-COVID recovery may inadvertently push leaders towards handling bigger problems first, but it is the smaller issues that might need more tending. Suffice to say the team will need rebuilding as much as the business.

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Considering how employees are accustomed to working in crisis and with the team dynamics changing through these months, it will either have a huge impact or rather drawback once they return to the cubicles. Also, post-COVID recovery will bring along new health measures and social distancing concerns that the businesses will have to adhere to. An ideal balance of understanding amongst employees would be the need of the hour, and the team leader will have an important role to play. From discussing the harsh realities with the teams to making them cooperate with changing guidelines and social distancing rules, the leader will have to stand head-on against all upcoming storms.

Though lockdown was an unfortunate phase, it has emerged as a testing period for all. Using the crisis hour to show off their innate capabilities may have excited the teams, but the real struggle for the businesses will begin after the storm has passed. Having stated that — these are some of the workforce strategies for post-COVID recovery that you must address:

Business revival strategies

The crisis may have brought upon a struggling period for many, but the real hardship would begin post-COVID recovery, when the leaders and teams will have to face some tough questions. Going back to the same old routine may not be ideal given the onslaught COVID-19 brought upon the business operations. Though only a few months have passed, the drastic changes have not only doomed the economy but have sparked psychological and financial drawbacks too. 

Also, no experts can confirm if we are the the beginning, middle or end of the pandemic, hence, the business continuity plan would need some hardcore drill and grill sessions to answer questions like what’s next? What emergency protocols to set? What if there’s a relapse? And more. The leaders will have to take charge and relay some harsh realities to the teams, make tough decisions, and set new guidelines to help the business revive. 

Post-COVID recovery measures

Let’s face the fact – nothing will ever be the same again. Post-COVID recovery, the business continuity plans will comprise health measures and social distancing rules. The leaders will have to inculcate the same to the teams and ensure a balance of work, and understanding the new rules. For example – there might be times when some people would prefer to work from home and others will have to report to the office, or employees would have to work in shifts if need be to curb the possibilities of a relapse. Also, since working in a crisis was normalized during the last few months, the normal routine might feel odd for a certain period. Here’s where the leaders would have to step in to gradually ease in the new guidelines and rules. And lest we forget, the unexpected switch to digital has to be normalized too, slowly but steadily.

Team recalibration

The worst may pass, but nobody knows what lies ahead for the businesses. With everything going haywire and ways of operating and working changing overnight, going back to normal will require some new and well-thought-out modifications. Also, the lockdown phase has revealed true strengths and weaknesses in the team, which will need addressing. Priorities might need reshuffling, and work will have to be re-divided into what’s urgent and what’s good for the long run. Hence, readapting the old routines may not be an option anymore.

Other than this, the leaders must try to lighten up the moments despite the hard times and turn challenges into new targets. When the staff returns, re-induct them by briefing about the company’s goals, and boost vigor to instill some enthusiasm. The struggles are going to be around for a long time, that doesn’t mean the workplace has to be turned into a battleground.

Change in leadership

Being a leader in or post-crisis is starkly different from being a leader in cubicles. Since the post-COVID recovery phase will give rise to a new set of concerns, a leader will have to shed some roles and take on new ones. Like walking on a delicate string between micro and macro management, you can neither be too controlling and push for high productivity nor be laid back and let them handle on their own. Your leadership will shape the future of the business you are trying to revive; hence your support to the employees who are the backbone of the company should be empowering and strengthening for fruitful results.

Thus, the post-COVID recovery phase would bring on tough challenges for business leaders. Only, when they are ready to accept them and lead the front like game-changers, will the business world be ready to start all over again.


  • COVID-19 business continuity plan: Five ways to reshape | Harsha Basnayake, Christopher Mack and Ignatius Tong | March 18, 2020
  • Leading into the Post-Covid Recovery | Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg | August 11, 2020
  • Six Steps To A New Roadmap For Your Business To Recover From The COVID-19 Crisis | Nicholas Joe Correia | May 5, 2020

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