The global pandemic COVID-19 really is worrying given the still rising rate of infection several months after the patient zero, but such is the world that we’re living in right now. Life goes on and your small business should keep running.
Don’t Panic, Take Care of Yourself, and Keep Calm
If there are three things that you should do first before reopening, it’s these three. You will need all the mental clarity you can muster to make important health, safety, and business decisions on the fly.
You must not forget to take care of yourself and your employees as well. Your health is paramount to the survival of your business.
Find the Opportunities
We are going to talk more about risk mitigation techniques in a bit. In the meantime, the next thing that you should do is to find available opportunities for your business to resume operations in the safest way possible.
Physical contact with your customers and amongst staff must be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Online platforms, on the other hand, along with opportunities for remote working must be explored.
Help from the Government and Financial Institutions
One of the biggest challenges that small business owners face, though, especially after months of no operation, is finding financing.
Fortunately, there are various government and non-government institutions offering financial assistance programs specifically for small business owners affected by the pandemic.
The U.S. Small Business Administration Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources page is a good place to start exploring various financial relief options.
Those from other countries may refer to similar local organizations. Banks also offer similar offers under their social responsibility programs.
It’s best to apply for multiple programs to increase your chances of approval amidst the volume of applicants.
Create an Employee and Customer Wellness Plan to Monitor the Health
Once you have secured your reopening capital, we can now move on to create a risk assessment and mitigation plan for the wellness of both your customers and employees. Here are some tips to get you started:
Daily sanitation procedures are essential to ensure that your business headquarters are always free of disease-causing germs. Health stations with disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers, and other alcohol-based products must be set-up to allow customers and employees to disinfect their hands before entering your establishment and upon exiting.
Social Distancing Guidelines
Your business headquarters (office, establishment, or both) must strictly follow and enforce social distancing guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people to stay at least six feet apart from each other. The same applies to work desks and other employee stations.
Those with limited office spaces who are forced to divide long work desks among several employees can install barriers to separate work stations. Remote working solutions can also be explored for those whose positions can be performed online. Lastly, rotating shifts can also be considered for those whose tasks can’t be done remotely.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
PPEs must be supplied to all employees who are required to face other people whose current health status cannot be determined. These include face masks, face shields, and gloves.
We also recommend looking into the specific guidelines for those who operate heavy equipment or those who may be exposed to heat-related breathing problems, if needed, as there are separate guidelines for them.
Daily Wellness Checks
Don’t forget to monitor your employees’ health regularly. Temperature checks must be done daily. Anyone with a fever or displaying other flu-like symptoms must be sent home immediately.
Work with your insurance provider to determine any health assistance that you can provide your employees should the need arises.
Remember, prevention is still better than cure so it’s still best to keep you and your employees safe as much as possible.
Refine your Risk Mitigation Plan
Finally, assess other potential risks and come up with several possible measures for each. Provide your employees with a copy of this plan. It must include the steps that they can follow accordingly. This will limit unnecessary panic and anxiety.
Don’t forget to come up with further contingency measures for future crises. One of the main reasons why we have suffered extensive damage from this pandemic is because people didn’t expect it to happen, not by a long shot. This left us vulnerable and terribly unprepared.
To Sum Up
The impact of this pandemic is more keenly felt by small business owners compared to bigger companies, and yet we’re seeing such companies close their doors more and more each day. How can we survive then?
We hope that the tips that we have shared above help you in doing so. Have strength. This pandemic is not going to last forever. In the meantime, know that there are various assistance programs available that you can apply for together with health protocols that you must follow not just to keep your business afloat but to ensure you, your family, your employees, and your customers’ safety.
Leila Amber is a passionate writer, home decor, and design enthusiast. She has a keen interest in the content that inspires her to dig deeper into the practice and create helpful design and decor guides.