If your small business or courier business has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic there are many factors you need to consider before you can move forwards safely as well as sustainably. You may have been able to change your business profile to working from home – or you might have had to close your doors completely.
There will be a whole range of new challenges to face including the severity of the virus within your community, the ability you have to enforce proper social distancing, and the level of contact you would have with between employees and customers.
So, how should I reopen my small business? Find out more here…
Make a Plan
Creating a reopening plan is a key factor. You’ll need to study the regulations to determine that you’ll be able to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by constantly cleaning and disinfecting your workspace. Government agencies and public health organisations will provide you with accurate and updated information for businesses that are looking to reopen.
Once you understand your obligations and the accepted guidelines for your specific industry, you’ll be able to tailor a reopening plan that is trusted by both employees and clients who relate to your company.
Investing in recommended disinfectant products such as ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes will decrease how much of the virus is spread onto surfaces and objects – reducing the risk of exposure.
Social distancing may be difficult to carry out. You may be able to move cubicles or desks so that everyone is 2 metres apart, but communal break rooms and toilets will need to be rostered with corridors one-way traffic only.
Wearing of face coverings will also be necessary where social distancing isn’t possible. So there needs to be a plan in place for obtaining a sufficient supply, keeping them clean, with training given on how to wear them properly. A policy will need to be adopted to keep your workplace and workforce safe.
Bear in mind that some employees may not want to come back to work because they feel unsafe. You’ll need to know how to handle operations if staff want to continue to work from home.
Prevention hygiene requires careful planning, with frequent handwashing remaining essential. Taking staff temperatures isn’t generally advised due to logistical and data protection issues, but if legally required then instant-read thermometers can be used.
Make aa additional plan for how to deal with visitors that come into your working environment, whether it’s a client or a delivery. If your business is a print shop or print store, for example, your receptionist can take a call before any visitors enter – and signs can be posted at the business entrance with advice regarding coronavirus symptoms and contacts.
Implementing Your Plan
Use the appropriate cleaning and disinfectant products, wear protective clothing and gloves, and read the directions on the labels. Following reopening you’ll need to routinely disinfect the following:
- Tables and countertops
- Doorknobs and handles
- Light switches
- Touch screens and keyboards
Remember that your workplace may have different surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by many people and you’ll need clean and disinfect these areas after every use. Areas that have been unoccupied for the previous seven days will need a normal cleaning routine.
Additional Safety Guidelines
Developing a plan to monitor the health of your employees with a particular focus on COVID-19 symptoms will ensure you know how to handle a positive case after you reopen. Become familiar with the specific steps to take on managing and isolating employees displaying symptoms, and adjust your sick pay procedures and time-off policies to allow ill employees to be able to stay at home.
Cybersecurity will also need to be a priority as coronavirus scams remain rampant – particularly for those employees who continue to work from home. Reassess any sensitive business and client data and consider limiting company-wide file access. Implementing multi-factor authentication and making password managers mandatory are ways of ensuring best practices.
Business Needs Assessments
Once you’ve established all of the new precautions your business will need to take on board you must consider your operational requirements. Challenges will come in the form of limited funding, disruptions of supplies, and future funding. Work out the absolute minimum you’ll need to get up and running again.
Initial staffing requirements may include offering limited hours back in the workplace whilst keeping others working from home – gradually expanding the workforce as time goes by and business starts to improve.
You may need to redesign your marketing messaging and update products to meet new client demands. Decide on the best way to use any business capital and review the revenue impact as you gradually become fully operational.
Look for new suppliers to meet your short-term demands, and set clear and accurate expectations for both your employees and clients so that they know exactly what to expect as you execute your reopening plan.