Fear and confusion can run rampant in unprecedented times like these. And even as more and more businesses get the go-ahead to reopen their doors, owners, managers, employees, and customers alike are bound to have some concerns. This fear is not entirely unfounded, either -- COVID-19 remains a threat in the U.S. and around the world, and much is still unknown about this disease and its lasting effects. Not only that, but business owners also fear being shut down again, whether due to another outbreak or a failure to comply with regulations. That said, most businesses cannot survive, let alone succeed, under a cloud of fear. The key is finding ways to move forward in a safe and informed manner. In that spirit, here are seven best practices to mitigate fear when reopening your business.
Facts Come First
Every decision you make regarding reopening must be backed up by the facts at hand -- facts regarding COVID-19 at large and in your community, as well as the current guidelines and laws that your business must follow to remain in operation. Staying informed will not eradicate all fears, of course, but it will arm you with key knowledge to keep your people safe and your doors open. Look to sources such as the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and your local health departments to stay in the loop.
Have a Plan
Knowing what is happening in your community and industry will then help you devise a thorough reopening strategy. This plan should cover all your bases in terms of employee health/safety and compliance. For more details on creating a reopening plan, read our previous article here.
Listen to and Act Upon Employee Concerns
As you prepare to reopen, take the time to gather feedback from your employees. Each employee will likely have different opinions and concerns about returning to work. It is your duty to hear these concerns and act accordingly. Otherwise, your workplace might be riddled with tension, fear, frustration, and negativity.
If a significant portion of your employee base conveys concern about coming back, it might be best to continue allowing those people to work from home (if applicable) and/or to modify scheduling so fewer people are inside at a given time. In fact, even if your people are mostly excited to get back at it, it is prudent (and in some cases required) to open back up slowly and methodically as opposed to all at once. This gradual approach might not be as profitable and might frustrate certain workers and customers, but doing so can keep your business compliant with local regulations and, more importantly, keep your people safe.
Maximize Workplace Safety
Whether you open back up slowly or all at once, making specific adjustments to your workplace’s layout and operations can mitigate fear and ensure that you remain open. More specifically, you can arrange seating to abide by social distancing mandates (i.e. six feet apart), minimize or cancel large gatherings and meetings, set up one-way traffic lanes to prevent close contact between employees, enforce mask-wearing inside, etc.
Maintain Strong Communication
Communication can be a powerful antidote to a climate of fear. Simply put, people like to know what’s going on. And while individuals should do their part to stay informed, your business should also make efforts to keep employees and customers in the loop regarding COVID-19 in the community, safety measures, best practices for hygiene and handwashing, local updates and changes, etc. The more people know, the better they’ll feel in and out of the workplace.
Keep Things Clean
Finally, a clean work environment can go a long way toward providing peace of mind for employees and customers alike. This is especially the case during a pandemic. Bolster your cleaning and disinfectionefforts for the time being; hire professionals to conduct a coronavirus deep cleanprior to reopening; and, if possible, partner with disinfection servicesto routinely clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and areas at certain intervals. If your janitorial servicescan handle these additional efforts, all the better.
Proceeding With Caution, Not Fear
Fear can be a useful tool for getting away from danger, but it can also prevent progress. If you want to keep your business afloat and your people safe, healthy, and comfortable, it is best to proceed with caution without allowing fear to get in the way. The Budd Group can help you achieve this goal. Our various cleaning and disinfecting services (including disinfection misting services, electrostatic spray, remediation, antimicrobial barrier technology, etc.) will provide you, your employees, and your customers with peace of mind and ensure that your business remains compliant with all federal and local mandates.For more information regarding COVID-19 and recommendations for environmental cleaning and disinfection from the CDC, click here.