As stay-at-home restrictions are lifted across the country, businesses are preparing to open their doors once again. For small businesses, opening efficiently and safety is key to success. Small businesses that cannot afford to remain closed for months have to return to work with the health of their employees and customers in mind. If you are preparing to reopen your small business, follow the 11 safety measures listed below to help you transition smoothly! You may also want to check out some covid small business tips to help your business adapt to the new changes.
1. Rearrange the Furniture
Stay-at-home restrictions may be removed, but social distancing guidelines are still in place. Staying six feet away from others can help slow the spread of germs and keep others from getting sick. In order to maintain social distancing, businesses have to rethink their office furniture. Employees who sit at desks or work within six feet of each other should be spread out further. You may have to remove or rearrange some of the furniture in your store or office to accommodate social distancing.
2. Schedule Professional Cleaners
Before anyone returns to your office or store, hire a professional cleaning crew to disinfect the entire area. Professional cleaners know which products to use and how to ensure every area is cleaned thoroughly. A deep cleaning session can give you, your employees, and your customers peace of mind before returning to your business. And, regularly scheduled cleanings can ensure the office stays disinfected.
3. Use Plexiglass Barriers
For stores reopening during COVID-19, plexiglass barriers can help protect employees and customers. The coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets when people talk, cough, or sneeze. A plexiglass barrier in front of registers or windows can prevent these droplets from spreading from person to person. The presence of these barriers can also make customers and employees feel safer when they are in your store.
4. Reorganize Shared Spaces
Break rooms, lounges, and other communal spaces are not likely to be full of employees like they were before COVID-19. If you are able to reorganize your shared spaces, take out furniture or open up the room to provide more space for people to social distance. You can utilize these shared spaces by opening them up for desks.
5. Keep the Windows Open
Opening the windows in your workspace allows air to freely flow through your office or store. It may be possible for respiratory droplets to circulate within a central air conditioner. Keeping the windows open can help prevent the spread of the virus to shared spaces.
6. Stock Hand Sanitizer
Having hand sanitizer positioned throughout the office or your store can encourage people to disinfect their hands. Keep bottles of hand sanitizer at registers and doorways, in shared spaces, and near restrooms. If hand sanitizer is easy to access, people are more likely to use it. It is unrealistic to expect employees to wash their hands between every transaction, so providing hand sanitizer is a great way to prevent the spread of the virus.
7. Communicate Safety Guidelines for your Business
Clear communication is key for reopening your small business during COVID-19. Make sure employees understand the health and safety guidelines in place for your business, such as social distancing, hand washing, and disinfecting shared spaces. If customers visit your business, you should also keep these safety measures posted in your store. Letting customers know what you are doing to keep them and your staff safe can help them feel more secure when shopping with you.
8. Install Cubicles
Sorry, but it looks like these guys are going to be back. Cubicles were going out of style before COVID-19, and an open floorplan became the more popular layout for offices. However, due to social distancing, it might be a good idea to bring the cubicles back. With cubicles in place, you create specific areas for distancing and make it easier for people to keep to themselves. Employees may also feel safer if there are clear defined areas.
9. Avoid the Conference Room
Meetings are typically held in conference rooms, but now is probably not the best time to gather everyone is a small space. Whether you hold meetings in a conference room, office, or break room, it is best to find a new place for staff or team meetings. Space out chairs in an empty corner of the office or hold your team meeting in the parking lot before you open for the day.
10. Repurpose Reception
If you have a reception area at your office or a waiting room, you can repurpose this area for decontamination. Set up temperature checks as guests arrive, provide hand sanitizer or hand washing stations, and ask screening questions about COVID-19. Having a checkpoint set up before people enter the office can help stop the virus in its tracks. This will be vital to ensure the safety of your business and to show your employees that you truly care.
11. Disinfect High Traffic Areas
Identifying high traffic areas in your office can help disinfect surfaces between professional cleaning sessions. Make disinfecting wipes and cleaners available to your staff so they can wipe down their keyboards, registers, light switches, and other frequently touched surfaces.