COVID-19 crisis has had a terrible impact on the global economy. We have all got used to remote working now and going back to the way we used to operate before COVID-19 seems like a taxing thing to do. Businesses that have always had only virtual workplace do not have to worry much about the reopening. However, businesses with a physical space are going to have a tough time reopening their businesses. Though many guidelines have been provided by many governmental and international organizations, a step-by-step process to reopen your business is something you’ll find nowhere. This is why we have prepared a step-by-step guide to reopening your business. The journey to reopening your business is more like a perplexing network of intercommunicating routes and you’ll have a hard time navigating through this maze on your own. It’s a very complicated system of medical, logistical, and legal passages that are all connected into a maze and this maze is something you have never seen before.
We, at DEFY have compiled an outstanding strategic plan that will help you reopen your business. This plan is generic and it works regardless of what type of business you own. Everybody owns a unique business and you can make adjustments according to your unique needs. However, the basic map remains the same irrespective of your business type. Let’s give you a quick summary of our plan:
1. Determining Federal, State, and City Guidelines for your Location
Federal government and state governments have issued different guidelines and finding out the specific guidelines issued by the government for your location is the first step. Ascertaining the specific guidelines that have been issued for your state and city can help you considerably minimize the confusion. Different locations are subject to different rules and if you do your homework beforehand, you are going to have a lot less trouble.
2. Deciding what personnel needs to return
The process of business reopening is something that you need to take slow. Opening everything all at once is not a reasonable thing to do. There must be some members in your staff that are doing excellent work remotely and they should continue working from home. Returning to normal operations will be tough and you will probably need to divide your staff into two blocks and stagger their work timings as well. This will make your place less crowded. If your workspace does not have a lot of individual offices and employees work in bullpens, you really need to stagger the time people work or you can just stagger the times they come to the office. Some of your staff members may be reluctant to come to the office because of health concerns or childcare. You need to come up with a solution unanimously. For some businesses, the reopening process can get more taxing than anticipated and they may need more staff members. In some cases, it can be the opposite and there may be a need to lay off some employees as the reopening process requires a good amount of money. Assess your situation carefully and do what needs to be done.
3. Developing a Health & Safety Plan
You need an excellent health and safety plan to protect your staff, customers, and visitors. First, you need to look at the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines will help you determine what needs to be cleaned and sanitized in your space. You can also check out guidelines and recommendations specific to your type of business issued by industry organizations. Your traffic flow, lines, and seating need to be reevaluated to ensure your employees can maintain social distancing. You may also want to make some physical changes like floor signs or markings. The doors between rooms should be kept open to increase ventilation thereby improving airflow. Sharing office supplies and equipment may be necessary at times. However, unnecessary sharing of the office equipment should be strictly avoided. Everyone in the office should wear personal protective equipment like gloves or face coverings.
If any of your team members have been exposed to COVID-19, you should know. Therefore, you must encourage them to come forward and self-isolate at home for at-least 14 days before they come back. Paid leaves and sick time policies should be adjusted as this will encourage the staff members to make safe choices.
4. Preparing a Supply List
You need to make a supply list that includes cleaning and sanitizing products for sanitizing your workspace and personal hygiene products like hand-sanitizers. You may also need some tools and equipment to make physical changes in the office like partitioning the bullpen to maintain a 6 feet distance between desks. Wall hangings and standees that communicate new rules and policies should also be placed in the office.
5. Updating the Travel Policy of your Company
Businesses often require a lot of travelling. It is recommended by the CDC to avoid travelling unnecessarily. Therefore, unnecessary travel should be forbidden and virtual meetings with the clients or suppliers should be preferred. If you need to travel to another state, you should first be aware of that state’s travel guidelines. You should also be aware of ‘hot spots’ with a large number of Coronavirus cases. Travelling to hot spots should be avoided.
6. Maintaining a strong communication with your staff, partners, suppliers, and customers
You need to maintain a strong communication with everyone. You need to keep your customers, suppliers, partners and staff members informed about your plans. Seeking legal advice frequently can help you stay ahead of the game. You can ask your customers to sign a COVID-19 waiver. This will help you protect your company against lawsuits. Your reopening timeline must be shared with your personnel. Your staff needs to be trained on new rules and methods. This will help you get everyone on the same page.
Following this 6-step procedure will help you reopen your business. This 6-step procedure is for every business. However, for more specific guidelines, you should look into your industry’s organizations.