Reopening Your Business during a Pandemic

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We’re heading toward the end of the year, and the coronavirus is still prevalent in many countries. It’s not absurd to assume that the virus may continue to pervade next year. While governments and healthcare professionals continue to discourage people from leaving their homes, the economy must be reopened, albeit gradually and carefully.

Many businesses have responded by operating on a work from home routine. Still, there are industries out there in which the element of physical contact or proximity cannot be eliminated.

Here’s how to equip your business and employees for the new normal and assure your customers of their health and safety:

Work from home

Of course, the safest way to carry out a business would be to shift as much of your operations to remote work. Completely, if possible. But if your business can’t run entirely on remote work, keep reading to learn about the measures you should be taking.

Sanitation measures

If your business has an in-house maintenance staff or an outsourced commercial cleaning company, there won’t be as big a need for you to oversee these matters. But if you don’t have either of those services or perhaps the funding to outsource, here are some sanitation guidelines for you to remember.

Regularly disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces. The CDC stresses the use of EPA-approved disinfectants. If these are not available, alternatives can be used. These include 70% alcohol and bleach-and-water mixtures. Wear gloves while cleaning to protect your skin from the harsh chemicals in disinfectants. We also advise you to wear protective eye gear.

Have hand sanitizing stations around the office or business space, with one at the entrance. Disinfect the space as often as every evening at closing time.

At the same time, take care not to overuse and overstock on disinfectants and PPE supplies to minimize the chances of supply shortages.

Minimize the use and presence of soft and porous materials, such as rugs, pillows, and padded surfaces. These are more difficult to clean and disinfect than those that are hard and nonporous. It’s better to stow them away for the time being. If, for example, your office uses drapes or curtains, consider switching to blinds. Have air filtration systems inspected and cleaned.

Employee support

People are at the heart of any business, so look after the well-being of your employees.

For on-site operations, establish a system of staggered shifts to help minimize the crowd flow in your workspace. Practice social distancing. If possible, implement measures such as departmental separation.

Related: How COVID-19 will impact future trends in office design

Provide your on-site workers with additional personal protective equipment (PPE). They should have their own masks, but you must supply them with additional PPE that they might need at work, such as scrubs. Make sure you also have a supply of spare masks.

For remote employees, provide them with allowance for work from home equipment when needed.

Have your on-site workers tested for the virus. If anyone tests positive, have them go on sick leave for two weeks and disinfect the workspace. Make sure they test negative before you allow them to return to on-site operations. However, one thing we’d like to stress is that negative test results don’t mean you’re in the clear. Perhaps you weren’t infected when your sample was taken, as the virus can take up to 14 days after exposure to develop in your body.

Mental health services

Apart from providing your employees with health care for their physical health, see to it that their mental well-being is monitored, too. Discuss measures you can implement with your HR department. Make links and hotlines for telehealth counseling services accessible.

Customer and client support

woman working from home

Assure your customers that your company is taking the necessary health and safety measures to reduce the risk of infection. Post signs around your space reminding everyone to practice social distancing and proper hygiene.

Manage the crowd flow at on-site operations by letting only a few outsiders in at a time. Only allow those with masks and other PPE to enter your premises. Use a thermal scanning gun for a contactless temperature diagnosis. Those with a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher or any other symptoms of COVID-19 should not be allowed in.

As the world cautiously reopens amid the pandemic, we all need to take specific measures to ensure our safety and that of others. During this time of distress and uncertainty, see to it that your employees and customers are looked after. Offer them the support that they need to adjust to the new normal.

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