Slowly businesses are opening up and that means your company, big and small should be thinking about your plan to safely practice and operate. Today, I attended a webinar by my accounting firm, Weaver.com and want to share bits of wisdom and notes I took away from the 30 minutes I was able to attend.
5 Tips to Prepare and Plan
Making a Plan
Businesses of all sizes that have an office space or outside location of the home should prepare for their comeback. A plan should be in place. The plan should cover things you are doing for your employees to keep them safe, mitigation in case someone does get sick, and plans to keep clients or customers safe and also feel secure. A few things that should be included in your plan:
Publish and Share the Plan
Along with coming up with a plan that also might be specific to your industry and your business, comes the need to publish, put signage out, coordinate with HR and Security and Check-In Desk, and sharing. Informing your employees about work from home and in-building protocols, rules, and compliance orders are an important part of keeping your office or business safe and minimizing exposure or spreading of COVID-19. Sharing may take many forms including email, posting to human resource shared document locations, putting up signage at the front entrance or door or strategic locations in a factory or shipping area for example, and also making clients or customers aware upon physical entrance to your office or building. These may include visitor rules or requirements like wearing masks or using hand sanitizer. In addition, you may want to make it easy for your customers by supplying the masks.
With opening up comes new rules, policies, protocols, operational changes, and compliance requirements. If you require an update to your Employee Handbook or OSHA related safety documents, then an expedited process to get the information updated and download documents from the CDC or other government websites may be in order. If you have changes to sick policies, childcare, new restrictions or reporting requirements, then updating your policy documents will be helpful to employees ensure safety is remaining a priority. In addition, if your industry is health or wellness related, forms and building policies may be shared through text, email, website, etc as they set appointments, schedule visits, etc. Patients and clients/customers will have a higher level of expectations around cleanliness, disinfecting, and supplied like masks and hand sanitizing stations. These are all things to think about as you update your employee and customer policies. You may also want to consider limiting or closing down waiting areas, staging areas, common areas and other places where exposure might be higher.
Put up Signage and Share Reminders
Think about putting up signage and notices to help your employees keep a safe working environment. The same thing goes for customers or patients. Make sure the signs or notices are accessible (for wheelchair, deaf, blind, etc.) or have other means to communicate to support those with disabilities. It also might be beneficial to do periodic reminders or check-ins with your employees, your team, and include information for clients in newsletters or email campaigns. Retail establishments may want to post requirements like wearing masks and other changes very clearly on their front door or other outdoor signage. If you have digital displays or signage, those may be other platforms to share information and update. Sharing any information about changes or requirements may also be helpful to share on your company's or business' social media pages.
We are very much in a 'learn as you go' environment, so be sure to make adjustments as you go and find ways to improve your business safety, including workspaces and work environment. If you plan accordingly and are transparent around the changes and ongoing safety protocols, you should provide your employees and customers with a higher level of trust and comfort as they frequent your establishment or visit your offices. Pay attention to OSHA, CDC, other federal, state and local guidelines and prepare as much as you can along with making improvements as you go.
Written by Stephanie Atkinson
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