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You cannot turn on the news or look online without seeing a barrage of news updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the rules, guidelines, and safety recommendations from local, state, and federal government officials are constantly changing, often without much lead-time, leading to confusion among consumers and small business owners alike. That said, businesses are beginning to welcome their employees and customers back after months of restrictions and mandated shutdowns. However, you must implement safety measures if you want to reopen your business.
Each state has safety requirements for essential and non-essential companies, so check online to see what you need to do before opening your doors. In addition, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the latest employer information. Balboa Capital wants you, your customers, and your employees to stay healthy during this transition. Read on to learn how to reopen your business safely.
Tailor safety measures before reopening your doors.
All work environments are different. Commercial offices, manufacturing plants, restaurants, retail shops, dental practices, and grocery stores involve unique business activities, and their workplace footprints and amount of person-to-person interaction vary accordingly. A small business with only a few employees might seem safer than a large company with many employees interacting with many customers, but that is not always the case. Therefore, the best way to protect your workers and customers from COVID-19 transmission is to enact safety measures recommended by the CDC and your state or local government officials.
Standard safety measures apply to all businesses include enhanced cleaning protocols, physical distancing rules, signage, floor art, and wearing face coverings. Businesses in the retail, manufacturing, hospitality, and manufacturing industries, among others, have installed plexiglass barriers as checkout counters and workstations. Companies operating in traditional offices have changed their seating arrangements to allow more space between cubicles and desks. Lastly, restaurants in cities and towns all over the country have expanded their outdoor seating arrangements to accommodate diners and provide them with optimum safety.
Get your employees on board.
American workers share the same concerns about COVID-19 these days. Surveys conducted by several leading news organizations and business websites reveal that 7 in 10 Americans are concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 at work, and over 8 in 10 would instead work from home. Therefore, companies need to do more than enact safety measures. Before they reopen their businesses, they need to educate their workers on the new protocols to feel more confident and be productive without unnecessarily worrying about health concerns relating to COVID-19.
You can make this announcement and present your safety protocols in a company-wide webinar or a company meeting with social distancing and have an open question and answer period once it concludes. This needs to be a complete team effort. If any of your employees come to work sick or avoid your new safety and hygiene protocols, they will disrupt morale and put everyone’s health at risk.
Stagger your start times when you reopen.
Most workers in the United States work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, it is pretty standard for employees to work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, or even 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. By offering different work schedules to your employees, you can minimize crowding in the parking lot, building entrance, and elevators or stairs in the morning. This will also eliminate the “mad rush” at the end of the day when everyone leaves the office simultaneously. Additionally, staggering start times can free up space in common areas such as lunchrooms, break rooms, and office kitchens because your employees will be on different schedules.
Stock up on cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
This is a critical part of your safe work practices plan and for a good reason. Scientific research shows that cleaning and disinfecting doorknobs, desks, computer keyboards, counters, faucets, and other frequently touched surfaces can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, before you reopen your business, stock up on cleaning products, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes and sprays and make them accessible to your employees.
Stay on top of regulations and requirements.
The return-to-work strategies in this Balboa Capital blog post are based on information made available by the United States government and our nation’s leading medical organizations. Several safety protocols and requirements are tailored to the needs of specific businesses in every state and city, and they change often. Therefore, it is a good idea to be proactive and regularly look online for the latest revisions and updates so that your business is compliant and not at risk for potential legal issues.
There is no way to predict how many COVID-19 cases will be diagnosed on any day or when the curve will flatten. So, it would be best if you had an up-to-date safety plan for your employees, customers, suppliers, and everyone who will visit your business. Lastly, if your company has successfully shifted to remote work, you might consider keeping that setup in place for as many employees as possible. This can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.