The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 pandemic has been an extremely unsettling and stressful time for all of us. However, an infectious disease outbreak should not induce the level of panic we are experiencing. As a small business owner, it is essential that you are organized and prepared for this outbreak to protect your business, employees, and customers and to provide them with the level of comfort and support that they need during this scary time.
Modeling healthy behaviors and keeping a workplace relatively productive, without breaking any laws or regulations, can be possible when a business leader is well prepared and educated during this time. There are several things that you must understand during the pandemic. Today, we will be taking a look at the things you need to know for your business to plan, prepare, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the best way possible.
Understand the Threat
You need to fully understand the threat the virus has on your business, employees, and customers before you can prepare it for the pandemic. First, you should understand what the virus is. In this case, COVID-19 is a flu-like illness that can cause pneumonia, which can be fatal. Symptoms of the virus don’t tend to appear until 2-14 days after exposure. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
The virus is spread through contact with an infected human. This can be through droplets in the air or on surfaces. The virus can survive for days at a time on a surface. To protect yourself and others, you should practice social distancing, wash your hands often, thoroughly clean your store daily, and if anyone shows any symptoms, they must self-isolate.
Look After the People
Safety must always come first. You should provide your employees with relevant health and safety requirements when they start their job with yourselves. These requirements should be kept up to date during their time with you, and reliable resources should be used to do so. Many employees and customers will already know the best methods of protection against this virus, but you should make sure they are made aware of and have access to these methods during their time in the workplace.
You should be keeping a constant eye out for any information provided by professionals about other ways of prevention and protection. While there is no guarantee that these people will remain unharmed, the safety measures are simple enough to ensure everyone is out of harm’s way.
Adapt Your Business Policies
During the pandemic, you will need to adapt your business in order to protect your employees and customers, as well as the functionality of your business. First, you should adjust your sick leave and other attendance policies. If someone shows any symptoms or their household has symptoms, then you must encourage this person to stay home.
This will reduce the risk of other employees and your customers from catching the virus. At the end of the day, their safety comes first. You should improve the sanitation and hygiene of your business. Social distancing must be encouraged in the workplace, as well as restrictions on the number of customers and staff in the store at one time. Meetings and travel should be reduced, and you should speak to your suppliers immediately to discuss deliveries.
Protecting Your Business
Providing your business with the ultimate level of protection is essential for success during the easiest of times, so it is easy to see why this is vital during a pandemic. If your area is in lockdown, criminals may take advantage of the quiet streets, so it’s a good idea to invest in security and protection for your store.
For example, you could invest in a new alarm system, security cameras, locks, and building reinforcement. Small business insurance from The Hartford is also essential. They provide great coverage in minutes, and all the information you need about the levels of cover can be found on their website. Small business insurance may not protect you from the pandemic, but it will protect you from a number of things that could cost you money that you can’t afford to lose.
Is it Safe to Continue?
No business owner wants to shut down their store if it can be avoided, especially if your business is small, but sometimes, it is necessary for the safety of your business, employees, and customers. For certain industries, such as sport and hospitality, closure is essential. However, some companies can continue as long as extra safety precautions are put into place.
In order to do so, a reliable communication process needs to be established. This will allow employees and business partners to remain aware of the disease and your response. If possible, you should make your workplace more flexible by allowing your employees to work from home and attend meetings by phone or computer. To help ease the transition, here are tips for working from home that you can share with your employees. If they have to come into work, you should reduce their hours, but not their pay.
What Else Could You Do?
If you have to close your business entirely for the safety of your employees and customers because they can’t work from home or the industry has been forced to close, then you should think of other things you can do to support the people around you and stay afloat. If your employees are still healthy, then they can assist you during this time.
If your company is based around food, then you could consider a takeaway and delivery service. This allows people to enjoy your food in the safety of their own homes. If this can’t be done or your business specializes in something else, you could consider opening a local shop or a delivery service for essential resources that can be hard to find at the overcrowded superstores, to help the locals and vulnerable people.
Preparing your small business for the COVID-19 pandemic is a tough and unavoidable process. Keeping up to date on the virus and legal requirements in your area are essential. If you have to close, then thinking of ways to support the locals can bring in extra cash and a sense of achievement.