As more companies around the nation consider the prospect of reopening for businesses, the questions are many: What does a safe, responsible operation look like?
The fact is, safe reopening practices will vary considerably, depending on the line of business, but certain basic steps may be generalized across industries as we all seek to get back on our feet.
Identify the Right Policy
Your firm’s insurance policy plays a key role in overall success. As you explore reopening, one essential to weigh is whether you have a COVID-friendly business owner’s policy. At the start of the pandemic, insurance limitations posed a significant hurdle because it appeared as if pandemic-related damages would not be covered.
Given the length of the crisis and how seriously it has compromised economic survival, however, many companies are finding it easier to obtain comprehensive coverage.
Listen to Your Audience
One of the biggest factors that businesses need to study as they reopen is what their customers want – and that means listening carefully to what they have to say. For example, surveys indicate that customers feel much more comfortable knowing and seeing that surfaces are being regularly wiped down, even though scientific and medical experts commonly refer to this as “hygiene theater” because surface transmission poses very low risk.
Despite the science, making your customers feel comfortable counts for a lot and it should be a priority. That’s why your operation should tune in to what your clients expect and apply appropriate practices in conjunction with the policies have been clearly demonstrated to reduce virus transmission.
Make Your Policies Public
Most firms post their safety policy on their doors and inside their facilities, but if you want your customers to arrive prepared and ready to comply with the rules, it’s wise also to post your policies online, and that means both your website and social media. Though most establishments have similar rules, many customers feel more confident visiting an establishment if they know what to expect before they arrive.
Let Your Staff Lead
It’s worthwhile for businesses to put clear policies in place for their customers. The best way to reopen safely, no matter what sector you’re in, is by ensuring your employees demonstrate leadership. That means that you, as employer, provide the correct tools, such as masks and hand sanitizing stations, as well as management support for members of the team who enforce social distancing and hygiene policies.
Many businesses are also taking staff and visitor temperatures every day, offering more flexible sick leave policies, and encouraging as many team members as possible to work from home as a method of limiting capacity.
When the nation appears to be split between those who reject COVID-19 rules (and pay the price) and those who are struggling to enforce them, one of the best tools you have at your disposal is your area business community. Rather than stand alone, you should try to collaborate with neighboring operations in developing common safety policies or certifications so customers will see that their community presents a unified front in the interests of keeping them safe.
It will take time for businesses to rebound as COVID-19 cases decline, but with the help of clear policies and leadership from the business community, customers will return. The greater the sense of security you can offer, the higher your business will go on people’s list of destinations to patronize.