Being a business owner is never easy and the Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a whole new level of problem-solving decisions for small businesses around the globe. The international public health crisis has forced business owners to close shops and rethink how they operate amidst the increasing dangers to the masses’ health.
And now, with the easing of safety protocols and shrinking numbers of cases thanks to the effectiveness of vaccines and other medical interventions, American companies face the ‘how’ of safely reopening their doors to both their employees and customers alike and resume doing business.
So, if you’re thinking of re-opening your physical business for the first time since the pandemic first hit, here are four tips you may look into:
1. Prioritize Site Cleaning And Disinfecting
Maintaining a clean workspace is a must: even before the pandemic hit and especially now when you’re gearing up to open up your doors for operations again considering current conditions.
Thus, you want to prioritize cleaning and disinfection of your business premises, especially the frequently touched surfaces and high-traffic areas such as office kitchen counters, break areas, and checkout counters.
Stock up on cleaning and disinfection supplies like alcohol, sanitizers, soaps, as well as detergent and bleaching soap, and disinfectant sprays for cleaning surfaces. Encourage your employees to clean their personal spaces too as well as any other equipment they use.
Nevertheless, strong cleaning and disinfecting supplies may be dangerous if not used properly. So, make sure to provide guidelines on how to use them safely. Plus, you need to provide the proper equipment such as face masks and gloves and make sure that enough ventilation is present to limit chemical exposure.
Or you can consider hiring local professional cleaners that already have safety systems in place. Better yet, work with companies that are eco-friendly and provide green cleaning services Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. They use non-toxic cleaning products to keep your workers and clients safe and healthy.
2. Check Your Local And State Requirements
How you can safely reopen your business will depend on local and state requirements and the kind of business you run.
Requirements can vary by the local municipality and state like Colorado. A restaurant will have different needs than a small office business. Where there’s little to no interaction with customers.
That said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all businesses should:
- Create a workplace-specific plan;
- Identity all job tasks and areas with potential viral exposure; and
- Implement measures to reduce or eliminate that exposure.
Company managers are advised to monitor government communications about COVID-19 guidance, regulations, and recommendations and ensure that their employees have access to that information.
3. Determine Who Should Return To The Workplace
Restrictions may be easing down but the threat of the virus is still out there. Thus, when reopening your workplace, you need to consider who should return to the office to work.
It’s best to have your personnel return gradually, allowing for lower crowd density and making physical distancing more manageable. Additionally, maintaining a partially remote workforce can facilitate stress-testing workflow and physical changes to reduce disruption as more employees return over subsequent months or weeks.
It’s advised that employees who are at the highest risk of COVID-19 (for instance, those who have heart or chronic lung disease, are pregnant, obese, diabetic, or over the age of 60) should stay in remote working until the transmission rates are very low.
It’s also recommended that team members with kids at home and lack alternative childcare or those for whom transport could pose a risk of exposure should continue to render work remotely.
4. Plan For Customer Flow
Before reopening your business to the public, make sure to plan how people can safely move freely in your establishment while maintaining social distancing. Comply with local restrictions and determine if customer screening will be needed.
You also need to assess the capacity protocols for each section of your store as well as business facilities such as stairwells, waiting spaces, and elevators. Add signage for all spaces that state capacity limits and designate an employee who will track this.
In addition, you need to prepare a queue management system and appropriate floor markings that designate social distancing requirements for areas where customers may flock such as entrances and cashiers. Include signages to remind customers of physical distancing and other health and safety protocols.
And there you have it!
It’s not easy to relaunch your company’s operations while the COVID-19 pandemic is still here. It requires a thorough process and you need to think of several factors before calling back your employees to return and opening your doors to customers.
By following the tips mentioned above and adapting to the new normal, business owners can ensure that they’re doing everything possible to protect their customers, employees, and their enterprise itself.