In many locations, business are starting to reopen after the unprecedented closures caused by COVID-19. However, while reopening is great for the economy as a whole and for your business’s income, you still need to know how to keep your employees and customers safe. Every industry will have unique needs, but here are a few things that every business should keep in mind as they reopen.
Enforce Social Distancing
While everyone is aware of the pandemic, not everyone takes it as seriously as they should. Because of this, social distancing might slip people’s minds, especially once they’re back in their regular work environment. Take it upon yourself to create efficient methods of social distancing for both your employees and customers and to make sure that everyone follows these guidelines.
Pay special attention to spaces where people congregate, such as the reception desk and the bathrooms in your building. Keep people six feet apart and try to limit face-to-face interactions as much as possible.
Make sure to post signs around your commercial space letting people know exactly how to stay socially distant. Also, let everyone know that you take the safety of your worksite seriously. You’re in charge of their safety, so you need to enforce the rules and guidelines.
Offer Flexible Scheduling and Work Methods
Even if the government lightens restrictions, many people still feel unsafe going back to their regular routine. Some of your employees may have out-of-school children to care for at home or live with individuals with fragile health.
If feasible for your business, try to offer remote work as an option for now. Or, if you need your employees in your office, consider adjusting your hours so that a smaller number of people are in the office at a time. You might even consider an alternating schedule, where employees only come in every other day.
Do what you can to treat your employees fairly while also taking care of your business’s needs. This recovery period might last for a long time, so the better your flexible work options, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Implement Better Cleanliness Practices
You probably made sure your business was clean and presentable before the pandemic, but you need to take cleanliness to a new level when you open your doors again. Routine disinfecting and cleaning is the bare minimum you should do. Wipe down surfaces regularly, even several times per day, and make sure employees keep their hands clean.
Implement deeper cleanings than normal, and make sure that whoever does the cleaning has the proper equipment to handle COVID-19. You should also provide touch-free hand sanitizer stations, plenty of tissues, and soap and water in as many places as possible.
You should also invest in no-touch garbage cans, plenty of accessible cleansing wipes, face masks, and gloves. Train your employees on how to properly use the masks and gloves so that they remain as effective as possible.
You may have to change certain aspects of your business property itself to enhance cleanliness. Consider improving the ventilation system and installing high-efficiency air filters to make sure that the air stays clean inside. If you have customers or visitors, you should have some sort of clear barrier between them and your workers to keep everyone safe from airborne particles.
If you have the space, and you serve customers, consider implementing some sort of drive-thru service. The less contact between people, the better. Do whatever you can to keep your property clean and safe.
Continue to Explore Alternate Business Strategies
While some businesses can reopen now or in the near future, we’re not free from the pandemic yet. Because we still haven’t found a cure or vaccine for this virus, you need to be prepared for every eventuality.
To make sure your business continues to get the revenue you need, you should continue to explore alternative business methods. During this pandemic, have you offered online services? Delivery services? Video services? Have you considered switching to a different supply chain? What have you done about your company’s intercommunication? Don’t neglect these are aspects of your business.
With increased interaction comes increased risk of another spike of infections, even if you take as many safety precautions as possible, so you should stay prepared for future closures. Continue to think of ways to maintain workflow and morale at your business to ensure that you can weather the rest of this storm while keeping everybody safe.
However, keep in mind that these pivots to your business strategy are also expected from your customers as things get back to normal. For example, for the workout studios who offered online pilates classes during the pandemic, customers will continue to expect that after the pandemic is over. These changes will continue to help your business grow for years to come if you maintain a consistent strategy.
COVID-19 has permanently changed the way that we run our businesses. It's highly unlikely that we will ever get back 100% to the way things were before. As you reopen your doors to the public, you need to make changes to keep yourself, your employees, and your visitors as safe as possible. While these considerations may take some getting used to and might put more strain on you and your teams, the effort will be well worth it if it keeps everybody healthy and your business open.