The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted markets all over the world and companies are eager to plan their return. No two businesses are alike and each one faces different challenges, but some initiatives like employee security, safe work environments, and financial sustainability have gained attention across the board.
As many companies begin to reopen, it is imperative to have a plan for the transition and keep staff and customers safe. Remember, people will only go to those places where they feel safe and hygienic, so keep this and the following in mind while planning your reopening.
Reorganize physical space
Carefully examine your workplace and identify the areas where people gather. There should be significant open space to avoid close physical contact. Reduce furniture and equipment or move into positions that create more space.
Reduce or close the common areas that aren’t mission-critical. Stagger work areas and incorporate partitions where close proximity is unavoidable.
Encourage social distancing and avoid sharing
Practicing social distancing measures is the most basic way of preventing the spread of the virus. When possible, try to maintain a minimum 6-foot distance between customers, staff, and visitors. Avoid shaking hands, gathering in small spaces, and sharing items that could carry pathogens. Eliminate in-person meetings in favor of virtual ones.
If you serve customers face-to-face, instruct them how and where to stand at a certain distance while waiting in line. Consider other areas where staff and customers typically make physical contact and whether something can be done to reduce or eliminate the close proximity.
Keep safety equipment available
Invest in the safety and hygiene of your business by considering what personal protective equipment you need to have on-hand to protect workers and customers. Hand sanitizers are an effective way to slow the spread, so encourage its use by keeping a variety of products available so everyone can keep their hands clean.
Enforce regular and enhanced cleaning and that all prescribed safety measures be embraced. Decide whether the use of face masks for staff and/or customers is appropriate for your line of business, then make it policy. Ensure employees understand the policy expectations as well as how to communicate the new guidelines with customers.
Understand customer demands during the pandemic
Because of the pandemic, customer priorities and requirements have likely changed and it can be difficult to assess the impact. Learn about your customer preferences and how their usage of your product or service has changed.
While purchases may still center upon basic necessities, people and businesses are shopping more consciously and buying local. They are also increasingly using digital commerce to discover and make purchases, so make sure you have a presence online.
Embrace the cloud
In a time like this, no one wants to consider large technology projects, but if you haven’t made your digital transformation to the cloud, now is the time to consider it.
Companies looking for increased performance and flexibility create long-term resilience for their business technology. Cloud systems are rapidly deployable compared to on-premise applications and are accessible from anywhere.
Modify business strategies to meet the need
Things will likely never return to ‘normal’ or the old ways of doing them. Customer behavior, demand, and expectations have all changed; the way you work with suppliers and vendors has changed; everything has changed. As a result, operations may need to develop new strategies or adopt new tools to help your business survive and thrive through the pandemic.
The Bottom Line
The coronavirus has affected businesses in every industry. Many companies have suffered losses, but things are slowly getting better. Companies are starting to reopen, and proper planning for finances, employees, and safety standards of your company is vital during these times.
Resume operations only once you’ve installed proper measures and safety protocols that nullify the threat of the virus. Plan accordingly, make the right decisions and bring your business back to work.