By | John Ward
As we learn more about the novel coronavirus COVID 19 and start to safely reopen our country and our economy, it’s critical that business owners remain vigilant and do everything they can to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers to the best of their ability.
Until effective vaccines and therapeutic treatments are available we are all going to have to learn how to navigate this “new normal”. The best way to get back to normal is to stay safe, stay smart, and take proactive steps to protect people in your community.
Below we highlight four steps business owners will want to consider take to safely reopen their businesses in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic.
All of these steps should be used to reinforce the instructions and the guidance provided by local and state officials as well as national authorities like the CDC and the White House. We have a lot of opportunity to continue to flatten the curve, to protect those at most risk, and to get back to as much normalcy as possible when we all work together to beat this virus.
- Educate Your Staff on Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
It’s critically important that you take steps to educate yourself and your staff on the signs and symptoms of this coronavirus, too.
You’ll want to be sure that everyone on your team feels comfortable enough to speak to anyone else about potential signs and symptoms they notice in themselves and others, but you also want to make sure that your team has the ability to recognize potential signs and symptoms in customers or clients that are visiting your business as well.
Encourage your staff to take advantage of sick time if they are feeling a little off, and make sure that everyone on your team knows that they can and should take advantage of all testing protocols whenever they are made available.
- Minimize Contact Potential for High Risk Employees
Whenever possible it’s a good idea to recommend that high risk employees – those with pre-existing health conditions, potential comorbidities, and other risk factors – take advantage of remote work opportunities.
If remote working isn’t possible, try to find ways for these high-risk employees to work in parts of your business that give them ample space, plenty of opportunity for social distancing, and really minimize the potential for coming in contact with folks that may be carrying the coronavirus.
Over the last few months we’ve been able to determine that people with underlying health conditions have the highest risk factor when it comes to the coronavirus. You want to do everything you can to protect these individuals, to provide them with a safe place to work, and to make sure that they feel comfortable while earning a living and providing for their loved ones.
- Maintain Smart Social Distancing Whenever Possible
Research teams globally, including our CDC, recognize that the absolute best thing we can do to fight back against COVID 19 is to socially distance from one another as much as possible, particularly when we are indoors and in relative close proximity to those that may be carrying the virus – even they aren’t showing any obvious signs or symptoms and are unaware of the fact that are carrying the virus in the first place.
Do everything you can to establish social distancing rules inside of the workplace, creating large and uninterrupted flows that people can navigate and breaking working spaces into “pods” that are (as best you can) somewhat insulated and isolated from one another.
You may even want to stagger work schedules to minimize the amount of employees you have working in a space at anyone particular time, chopping up the day and the work that needs to be tackled efficiently so that you don’t lose productivity while still keeping people safe.
Leverage physical instruments as much as you can to remind people of the importance of social distancing.
Many of us have decades of work habits that are difficult to shake even though we are well aware of the dangers of the coronavirus, and these physical reminders – barriers, signage, and even a reorganization of workspace to promote social distancing – go a long way towards making this transition easier.
- Leverage Proactive Sanitization and Cleaning Protocols
At the end of the day, you’ll also want to make sure that you are being really proactive when it comes to the sanitization and cleaning protocols you leverage in your space.
The CDC as well as the EPA have recommended a whole host of effective disinfectant solutions that organizations will want to take advantage of, but it’s not a bad idea to hire professionals to come in and provide a deeper level of cleaning and sanitation solutions than what would have been possible to achieve otherwise.
Expert teams of sanitizers and cleaners can (the very least) provide you with a baseline level of cleanliness and sanitization that allows you to open up, a level of cleanliness and sanitization that is easy enough to maintain with just a bit of upkeep and good hygiene practices moving forward.
We all are going to have to make some adjustments to the ways that we conduct business while we are living with COVID 19. Treatments, therapeutics, and vaccines are being worked on every day around the world – with great progress made already – but it’s our responsibility to handle the heavy lifting of keeping people safe until those solutions are proven to be viable.
The tips highlighted above will be able to help you will your business safely while we adjust.
John Ward is an account executive at Mold Busters, specializing in indoor air quality issues of the most delicate nature. Over the years, he has completed hundreds of disinfection jobs and thousands of air quality tests for homeowners and businesses across Ontario and Quebec.