Either now or in the foreseeable future, your state and municipality will allow businesses like yours to resume normal operations. Even so, there are many additional factors you need to consider before getting back to business. Take some time to carefully consider all of the steps necessary to keep yourself, your staff, and your customers safe in these uncertain times.
Encourage social distancing.
Although this phrase wasn’t even on our radar before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is ubiquitous nowadays. Experts agree that the chances of contracting the coronavirus are reduced if people remain at least six feet apart, avoid large groups, and stay away from crowded places. Keep the following tips in mind to implement proper social distancing in your workplace:
- Move desks and displays further away from each other.
- Revise staff members’ hours or locations to reduce the number of employees in a limited space.
- Reduce the number of seats in waiting rooms and other common areas.
- Mark off six-foot intervals in areas where lines form.
- Display signage promoting social distancing and encouraging those who might have been exposed to the coronavirus to come back when they feel better.
As with any rules, practice what you preach. Staff and customers will respect your requests more if they see that you are leading by example.
Encourage hand washing.
A sanitary workplace reassures customers and staff alike. Handwashing helps to protect everyone against getting infected with the coronavirus, which can be transmitted by coming into contact with a contaminated surface and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
To promote cleanliness, encourage staff to wash their hands frequently, particularly after they cough or sneeze, before and after eating, or after touching their face, interacting with customers, touching merchandise or equipment, or visiting the restroom. In addition, make hand sanitizer widely available to staff and customers alike.
Disinfect high-traffic areas.
It has always been a good idea to maintain a clean workplace, but this has never been truer than today. Make it a priority to disinfect your entire workplace at least once a day, more frequently if it’s a high-traffic area. That includes checkout stations, counters, doorknobs, lavatories, POS terminals, light switches, elevator buttons, phones, remote controls, tables, etc. In addition, ask all staff members to keep their individual work areas sanitized and be sure that you have cleaning supplies on hand and available for use.
Think about offering telecommuting options.
If it makes sense in your line of work, you might be able to allow some or even all of your employees to do their jobs remotely, thus reducing their risk level while still providing products and services to your customers. You can harness the power of your point of sale system to generate digital invoices, create incentives for online purchases, mount a robust marketing campaign, and bolster your customer relations via direct messaging. While this way of doing business may not be as familiar to you as the “personal touch” that you have experienced via one-one-one direct personal contact, it is well-suited to the cautious times in which we currently find ourselves.
Develop and implement a personal protective equipment policy.
The type and extent of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face coverings, face shields, and gloves that you require from staff and customers will depend on the nature of your business and of course, state and municipal laws. Based on these factors, determine the PPE you will need. Then take steps to acquire it well before your establishment resumes operations.
When you launched your business, you quickly learned how to solve unexpected problems in agile, creative ways. COVID-19 has magnified this necessity exponentially. Fortunately, taking a few simple actions can go a long way toward promoting universal safety and peace of mind as you reopen your physical or virtual store.