The long-awaited ease on lockdowns is upon us, with most businesses getting the green light to reopen. It certainly comes with much-anticipated relief as business owners gear up to get back to their sources of income. But even with the lift on restrictions, it is still not a normal state of affairs. Re-opening your business during COVID-19 comes with its own set of ups and downs. You still need to maintain vigilance and keep your employees’ and customers’ wellbeing first. If you are currently facing challenges on where to start, let this guide act as a starting point as you reopen your business.
Review Industry Guidelines and Specifications on COVID-19
Before deciding when and how fast to re-open your businesses, you first need to consider where your business falls within the newly issued re-opening standards. Federal and state regulations dictate that each company needs to adhere to given specifications on their area of operation. For instance, some businesses will have to cut down on the number of staff and customers during working hours. If you operate sensitive businesses such as restaurants, you may also have to get regular screening for your workers.
Paying attention to your immediate business is not enough and as such, you will need to look into your business allies and the guidelines surrounding them. Check that your business connections, such as vendors and landlords, also have a go-ahead before initiating business deals. Some institutions require health certifications, so keep that in mind to stay clear of any legal troubles. Current restrictions are bound to change as time goes by, meaning regularly checking for updates will serve you well.
Workplace Cleaning and Disinfecting
Just like personal hygiene is called for in fighting the pandemic, reopening your business during COVID-19 also calls for enhanced cleaning measures. This means cleaning and disinfecting all business surfaces and equipment while adhering to the EPA’s standards. If you have any equipment that may cause challenges during the cleaning process, now is the time to store them away safely. Such surfaces may also be breeding grounds for COVID-19 due to contact once you reopen, so it may be best to keep them in their storage areas. These practices will come in handy before reopening your business, but you certainly need to have scheduled cleaning and disinfection visits during your operations.
Prep for Daily COVID-19 Safety Measures
Businesses have undergone massive losses due to their closure, which is still a likely scenario unless owners take action. To reap benefits from reopening your business, you need to prepare your workplace with new safety measures. These include:
- Setting up check stations. These will facilitate proper checks to ascertain that your employees and visitors have appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks. The checkpoints can also act as screening points for elevated temperature checks for any incoming personnel.
- Protective screens at high interaction areas. If your business operates in areas where employee-customer interactions are more likely, you will need to introduce protective screens.
- Organize and space out your workstations to help employees maintain social distance on your business premises. If, on the other hand, you have limited space, consider accommodating teleworking plans, or have your employees working in shifts.
- Consider marking spots in communal areas such as elevators where employees and customers should stand. You can also extend this to queuing areas to allow customers to have proper guidance.
Realign Your Communication Tools
Communication has been an essential tool for businesses, but you need to improve it with the pandemic. Re-opening your business post-COVID-19 means being on the pulse of everything that is happening at your workplace. Establish clear communication lines with your employees before you get back to business to allow for a smooth transition. It can include appointing an employee beforehand to handle all employee and customer queries. These may consist of having information on matters such as new safety guidelines, changes in work hours, and work refusals. Depending on your business needs, the employee can have a designated mode of communication such as emailing, real-time responses on your website, or answering telephone calls.
Your customers can also benefit from well laid-out procedures such as clear signage. These can act as information tools for them to learn about the new safety measures.
Check Your Operational Needs
Now that you have the COVID-19 safety measures in place, it is time to look at your daily operational needs. Are you still in contact with your suppliers and vendors? Re-opening business post-COVID-19 will require you to re-establish your networks. Look into your supply chains as well as your inventory needs. You certainly do not want to have any shortages during your first day of work. Confirm that your vendors are still in operation and, if not, get new contacts and verify their work.
Liquidity and cash flow can also present unforeseen challenges while reopening your business during COVID-19. Do you have enough finance to back you up for the next few months should another lockdown happen? Get your financial records in order and establish how to cut down costs, such as working with suppliers who currently have discounts.
Check Your Premises’ Safety Guidelines
Ensuring your premises’ safety is also a crucial step for getting back to business. Check for any damage that may have occurred during your lockdown. It may be simple issues such as water leaks that could threaten the structure of your building. Consider other often-forgotten factors, such as pest invasion and whether your ventilation and drainage systems are working correctly. Lastly, do not forget to countercheck your fire protection tools.
Flexibility in Facing COVID-19
Let’s face it, some measures mentioned above may feel excessive at first, but they will come in handy in maintaining safety at your workplace. Your employees and customers need to feel protected, so set up practices that will safeguard their health. Normalcy will soon return to the workplace, but before that happens, flexibility is called for in mitigating the current times. Adjust your needs as time goes by to allow your business to succeed.