How to protect your business during COVID-19
Navigating through these troubled waters of the COVID-19 storm is not an easy journey. Businesses all over the world are having to adapt and face new challenges, challenges that force us to review our health and safety policies and take extra measures. We’re now working to ensure our businesses are COVID-secure and not just safe in general.
Even though the pandemic has hit the working world hard, many businesses are still continuing and weathering the storm, updating practices and providing new ways of protecting their businesses by following the below.
Working from home
Depending on the business, alternative working arrangements could be an option to reduce the number of employees in a building at once. You could alternate office days and work-from-home days for staff to help with minimising contacts. Businesses should take advantage of technology that allows us to do video conferencing and work apps that improve communication.
Now more than ever, hygiene in the workplace is being closely reexamined as businesses are making sure their premises are COVID-secure. You may want to consider providing sanitising kits for each desk (making sure desks are distanced from each other). Good hygiene and sanitising in the workplace should consist of antibacterial wipes, hand sanitisers, toilets being well stocked and disposable face masks being available. It’s important though to introduce strong guidelines that adhere to government ones for staff to follow. For instance, like making it mandatory to wear face masks or coverings in the workplace if social distancing is difficult; also advising staff can bring in their own also.
Wherever possible social distancing should be implemented, following government guidelines of staying two metres apart. If this is difficult the government strongly advises that face coverings or masks need to be worn if social distancing is unfeasible. You could also provide protective screens between desks, especially if rooms are confined. What many establishments are doing to help with social distancing is marking seats that are off limits or areas that are out of bounds. Signs and floor stamps are also being put up to clearly guide staff and visitors to maintain social distancing, as well as reminding them to wear face coverings.
One of the most advanced and effective ways to help control transmission of the COVID-19 virus is by using temperature detection and facial recognition speed lanes. These can not only work for improved security, but have been cleverly adapted to help fight off potential infectors. Allowing you to not only control entry depending on authorisation level, but also on state of health.
Assessing the impact of any changes to the business and having contingency plans is crucial in helping your business survive. You should analyse potential impacts and the time scales of how long you think these will last, planning for a month, six months and a year. Things to consider are potential increases in sick days and isolation days. Do you know who could step in? If you have a business that can’t function with staff working from home, have you got the resources in place to help protect employees? Also, factor in any interruptions that may happen in supply chains and logistics.
As part of your contingency planning, you need to consider your finance options if your business begins to wobble. You should frequently track and update cash flow forecasts, as well as reviewing expenditure; what’s critical and what isn’t? Do you have a backup plan or safety net? You may need to rely on personal savings or have them stored ready, just in case. Research and look at business support schemes as well as staying up to date with government plans and support. From furlough schemes to business loans and funds, the pandemic has forced those in charge to help the economy where they can.
Communication and transparency
With anxiety going through the roof for many people, communication and transparency is so important and can help reassure both staff and customers. With people cancelling appointments, withdrawing and turning to online shopping, an email, an update or a pinned social media post can go a long way in helping to retain clients. Updated or new policies need to be shared from the get-go to help everyone be on the same page.
If your business is still in operation, if you’ve had to make changes to logistics, venues, or if your staff are working from home, it’s good to send out an update to your clients and suppliers to inform and reassure them. Also, it would be good to have someone on the team who is well informed and ready to answer any queries on your social media platforms; you may even have a Social Media Manager.
Unless you’re a psychic, knowing how long we will have to keep up with these changes is anyone’s guess. That’s why strong communication, contingency planning and frequent reviewing is key to ensuring your business stays afloat throughout these uncertain times. COVID-19 looks to be staying a little while longer, so we have to prepare to live with the virus as safely as possible, but let’s work on ensuring that our businesses are staying too.