How To Move Your Business To The Post-COVID-19 Era?

27-05-2020 | The Blog Series

Scenario Sketching for a Post-COVID-19 world

It is early Q4 2019, you get a call from your manager, director, investors or owners pressing you for the 2020 budgets. 

With carefully selected research, you have made estimations, assumptions, and educated guesses as to the expected revenues and costs in the year to come.

However, 2020 doesn’t play out as anybody was able to predict.

Plummeting oil prices, worldwide wildfires, and a global pandemic with over 5.000.000 confirmed cases and over 300.000 deaths worldwide is not something anybody expected.

In these times, it is important to mourn the losses of those who passed away, think about those affected, and do our best to limit the spread of the virus by adhering to the rules and regulations governments put in place.

That being said, how to return to some form of a normal life is something companies should be thinking about. But with so many variables far outside of the control of management and investors, how can one possibly predict when this will happen, on what scale and which of the changes we have seen over the last months will become a permanent addition to our lives?

Understandably, companies are hesitant to work out plans in detail, especially when day to day activities take up so much time.

While middle management has to allocate all of its time and attention to day to day activities, it comes down to top management to prepare the organization for what is to come. 

But how? How can one possibly prepare in unprecedented times, with so many unknown variables and so far out of control?

The answer, in my opinion, is acting…..

So what are companies supposed to do?


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Scenario sketching


  •  If nobody knows what is to come, don’t try and act as if you do. Act like you don’t! 
  •  Identify all the variables. Governmental legislation, health risks, employees’ views on working home office.
  •  Have a constant mind of “what if”. What if the current regulations will remain in place for another 3 months? Or if they will remain in place for another year or two years?

What if the spread will slow down drastically next month, and it seems to be safe to go back to the office full time already?


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How will employees in different parts of the business react to getting back into the office?

In order to create the most valuable and likeliest scenarios, there are a few key elements to take into account:

1. Do your research

Research the available information regarding rules and regulations on the relevant governmental websites: municipality, regional/state, national, and for instance E.U. governments. They offer a wide array of information regarding the governmental views on returning to normal. Additionally, the WHO provides valuable information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Involve your employees

It is important to include a broad range of employees. Various professional groups (Developers, Sales, Operations, Finance) as well as a broad sample of demographic (young, old, male, female, other, religious, agnostic, LGBTQ+, living near and far from the office).

Over the last months we have seen that the way individuals and groups react to both the COVID-19 virus and the regulations governments have (or haven’t) put in place can be radically different. Therefore it is important you get clear insights into how your employees will respond to any policy you will put in place. This will also provide you with valuable feedback if the information and explanation you give are received and understood. 

3. Consider the public’s opinion

The COVID-19 virus seems to have divided the world into those who think it is a nuisance and those who think it is a major global threat.

Being the first company to open its doors fully, hosting face-to-face events, or extending a work from home policy might get some unwanted media coverage.

Be prepared. Think through what the objections will be, elaborate on your thought process, and show it has been a carefully made decision. In addition, some interesting ideas can be found here.

4. Think about long term implications

What are the short-mid- and long term effects of the COVID-19 virus?

Are you offering solutions to industries that are hit hard? Can you weather the storm, or will you have to generate alternative sources of revenue? Now not all departments are capable of operating in full capacity, how can you use their skill set to come out on top post-Corona?

As many competitors are cutting costs, is this the time to invest? While the number of users is at an all-time low, perhaps it is the ideal time to implement those changes with significant impact for active users, but will provide major advantages long term?

As my favorite fictional character, Jack Reacher by Lee Child always says: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Only when you actively play out the possible developments, will you be able to test if you are prepared.  

So, scenario sketching. 

I remember that during my time at Hotelschool The Hague, we had a course teaching us how to deal with dissatisfied, emotional, or even aggressive guests. After several lectures about the theory, I still clearly remember that we had two real-life role-plays with hired actors.

We, the students, were not told what the issue was, or what state of mind the actor was playing.  We had to find out what the problem was while remaining calm, staying polite to the “guest”, and protecting our own values and those of the company we were presenting.

The difference between reading and discussing possible ways to act, and acting in real life has made a lasting impression and is something I have often used when facing difficult situations. 

So use this valuable tool to best prepare your company. But use it wisely. Everybody knows that change will always be resisted. Harvard Business Review states the top 10 reasons people resist change. 

1. Loss of control

2. Excess uncertainty

3. Surprise

4. Everything seems different

5. Loss of face

6. Concerns about competence

7. More work

8. Ripple effects

9. Past resentments

10. Sometimes the threat is real

Inclusion and clear communication is key and can minimise the effect of most of these reasons. 

Work together with your employees to set the strategy. Be the leader they need you to be. 

by Diederik Klopper, Senior Business Development Consultant at PaymentGenes

About PaymentGenes:

PaymentGenes provides industry-leading payments recruitment and executive search. Our team offers a unique style of personal service in recruitment and consultancy, enabling your business to grow. Learn more about how we can help your business here.