CEO & President Mark Herbert Addresses Business Leaders Regarding Re-Opening the Workspace

by: Nichole Gunn May 8, 2020

As the country begins to weigh its options of lifting restrictions and reopening businesses, industry leaders are tasked with providing creative solutions that address both economic and social hardships in today’s post-pandemic environment. Incentive Solutions CEO and President Mark Herbert offers topics of consideration for those planning to head back to work, weighing both caution and optimism to better strike the delicate balance. Check out his video below and get ready to roll up your sleeves.

Good Afternoon. Today I wanted to talk about a topic that is really controversial. It’s about: how do we get back to work? I know there's a lot of heated sides of this; a lot of people saying, “hey we can't even think about this yet,” or, “there's too much danger out there. The virus might come back and spread even more viciously.” 

That could be a thing, yes, I agree. But also sitting at home doing nothing isn't probably the best for the economy as well. There’s as a lot of people hurting both from the COVID virus and from the cure of stopping everything. How do we weigh both of these things equally? How do we prudently think about moving forward? We can’t just stop the world from spinning; we need to focus on ways to continue on through this crisis. We all have empathy for those that have been affected by this virus, but that doesn't mean we can't start to think about how we can deal with things moving forward, and how we can get our economy back to work.

There are a couple of things that I know people want to think about. We really want to think about: how do we protect our employees? Protect our businesses? How do we protect our customers? Those are all key ingredients to this.

The “first and foremost” part is employees. How do you safely go back to work and keep your employees safe? There’s a lot of things to think about in the office environment: how closely together are people normally? Do we need to spread them out? There are lots of challenges today especially in getting the necessary supplies like wipes, sanitizers, and all the different things we need to potentially come back to.  Are we equipped for that at this point?

And then there’s the mental thought and the fear of some of the people, of our employees. Are they ready to come back? Are they still just panic-stricken and don't want to leave the house? We need to deal with all those things together and provide a safe road map. It’s going to be incremental; we’re not going to go back to work just like we left it. We’re going to have to put in safety guidelines, some practical steps. 

Once you go through all of those things, and there's a lot of things there, then we have to think about externally for our companies. How has this been affecting our customers, our vendors?  How have all they been impacted by this? What are their plans to reopen- have we talked with them? How can you help them with their plans? And how is this going to affect things as people start to get back to work, to interface differently, in both the near-term and the foreseeable future? I think things are going to be a little different. 

Once you figure out all that, how can you help them? How can you drive your business? How can you return to profitability? Those are all really, really important things to think about. And then there’s the larger society as people start to venture out. We have to continue to be cautious, we have to protect ourselves. But we also have to start the economy moving somehow, slowly, by taking all the precautions we can, but slowly getting people back to work. Not just those that work for us, but those in the larger economy. That's where I think there’s a lot of people suffering today. Not from the COVID virus but from the shutdowns. We have to be empathetic to those people as well. I know this is a really hard tightrope we have to walk, between balancing, between caution and optimism, caution and getting back to work. But as leaders, it’s a tightrope that we have to walk in order to get to the other side. I hope you can make that journey. It’s up to all of us. Thanks. Have a great day.


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.