Now that the mandatory shutdowns and restrictions on businesses are lifted, you’ll finally be able to open up and offer your products, services, and foods again. There may be crowd limits and social distancing practices put in place long after the reopening phase that will cause you to change your business, or shift your focus to address the other changes likely to occur in the wake of COVID-19. Do you have specific products that would make sense to offer during this time? Is there another way to offer your services or get your goods into the hands of consumers?
What’s your strategy?
While many businesses, like restaurants, healthcare providers, and consultants offering video services were able to come up with ways to continue to operate during the shutdown, many salons, barbers, bars, and other businesses deemed “non-essential” were forced to close indefinitely. With all of these places reopening, it may be wise to consider your options on how to not only keep your facility disinfected, but also prevent the spread of viruses going forward, thus adding safety and confidence to your customers and clients.
Hygiene and workspace safety
It’s not unknown that the amount of people allowed to gather in one space has been restricted, so it’s time to think about your business’s work space and changes you may need to make. Whether it’s the locations of desks in the office, table placement in your restaurant, or how you set up displays for your customers to view, creating better social distancing at your workplace for employees and customers starts with good planning.
Adding extra steps in regards to cleaning at your business is a must. Any community spaces like a shared kitchen, conference room, cafeteria, or counter-top need additional measures to ensure a clean workplace. Installing hand sanitizer dispensers in highly trafficked surfaces and areas like elevators and doorways, or near shared equipment will be on the list of things to accomplish. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and handrails. You should post guidelines for employees and customers on handwashing and proper sneezing and coughing etiquette. Fostering a sanitary workplace environment can mean including no-touch garbage cans, having a ready and accessible supply of cleaning wipes, disinfectant, face masks, gloves, and full soap dispensers.
Individual states and regions are tasked with determining guidelines for stay-at-home orders and business closures. This may make it difficult for your business if you have multiple locations to create a company-wide reopening plan.
Depending on the type of business you run, NC has developed specific policies, based on recommendations from public health officials and the federal guidelines for reopening America.
What does your business need?
Now that you’ve determined the precautions and protocols for your business to follow, it’s time to work out the operational needs. With funding limited and supply chain disruptions, you will possibly encounter more challenges as you attempt to ramp up the core of your business activities.
The following questions will help you get a better idea of what needs you might face when ramping business back up:
– What does my business need to survive right now?
– How should I approach staffing when I reopen?
– Have I addressed all employee and workplace health concerns?
– How have my customers’ demands and needs changed?
– What is the reality of reopening my business? Budget, location, supply chain, products/services offered, revenue.
Communication is KEY
It’s likely you’ll need to communicate your plans to varying audiences, and each one will require a customized approach to ensure the correct measure is delivered. As part of your reopening strategy, you’ll need to set clear and accurate expectations with people who interact with your business. Employees, customers, and vendors must know what to expect from you as you move forward with your reopening plan.
When addressing your employees, keep in mind the details of the changes you’ve made. Any actions taken in their absence to sanitize and prepare the workplace is the best way to provide peace of mind and confidence for your returning staff. Other things include: new work practices and health guidelines, policies on work-from-home, resources available to staff to handle questions or concerns.
Reaching out to your customers is the next most important step, you want to provide them with the confidence that your products or services are not contaminated and prepared to adapt to meet their needs.
Use multiple channels to ensure your clear message is received. Demonstrate that you’ve taken all of your customers interests into mind and have addressed their concerns directly. This could mean wearing a mask at all times, disinfecting surfaces immediately after use, or even posting videos of your place of business being disinfected by wipe-down and electrostatic spraying services.
Don’t hesitate to create a FAQ document highlighting questions around your health and safety practices and potential risks to your customers. And always reach out to affected customers and offer the best customer service or assistance when possible.
Plan in motion
While planning and preparing are a large part of reopening, actually following through thoroughly and consistently is more important. Develop a time frame for executing your strategy, according to the CDC, you should only consider reopening in your business meets the following conditions:
– Your community no longer requires significant mitigation
– Reopening is in compliance with local and state orders.
– You are prepared to provide ample protection for employees at higher risk for severe illness.
As your time frame for reopening is rolled out, here’s a few more steps you are able to take to make the entire transition as smooth as possible:
– Talk to your team and get their input. Ask your staff for thoughts and concerns about customer interactions.
– Schedule pre-opening tasks from deep-cleaning and sanitizing, to moving furniture or displays to provide social distancing encouragement. Make a detailed list of everything needed to be done to get your business ready for customers.
– Start reaching out to your vendors to re-establish supply chains and support. Plan ahead for your inventory as business starts to pick back up.
– Communicate with your customer base via emails and social media posts. Let them know to stay tuned for upcoming announcements.
What’s your marketing strategy?
– Check up on your competitors and see how they’re handling their marketing. Look at competitors locally, and also in other regions where the outbreak situation could vary. Have a broad range of examples and determine how customers are reacting.
– Update your marketing strategy to address your customers’ most current needs. Marketing during the outbreak means steering clean from promotional messaging and talking about the current reality and experiences your customers are facing.
– As mentioned before, communicate clearly to your customers on all marketing channels. This means sending out important reopening announcements, changes, and other pertinent information your customers may need to be aware of. Keep your website, email lists, social media, and blogs updated to ensure your entire customer base gets your message.
Are you prepared to adapt?
– Challenges will happen no matter how prepared you are. You will potentially find some parts of reopening your business are more difficult than previously expected and you may need to adapt and make changes quickly to overcome these obstacles.
– Frequently check in with your staff during your first few weeks of reopening. See how they feel overall and see if there’s anything that can be done to make their jobs easier, or give them more confidence about their health and safety being priority.
– Everything won’t happen in a day! As your reopening strategy is rolled out, mistakes will be made and that’s not a problem. If something does happen to go awry, quickly asses the situation and make customers and employees aware that you’re making it right.
– Get feedback often from your staff, customers, and vendors during the entire process of reopening. Don’t be afraid to have private conversations, or public ones on social media like polls to encourage others to share their thoughts and concerns.
– Keep an eye on your sales data. While it’s clear you won’t immediately bounce back to, “business as normal”, keep a close watch of your business analytics to determine what’s working and what needs attention.
“Back to normal” may never happen again and will look very different going forward for the entire world. Getting back to the volume of customers you had before will take time, but all you can do is continue to learn, and adapt as new information becomes available.
Above all else, to prevent and slow the spread of the current virus, or future outbreaks, keeping your workspace or office is the highest priority. To ensure you’re providing your customers or employees the highest level of clean available, consider a wipe-down and electrostatic disinfecting service like the one we offer.
If you’re interested in learning more about electrostatic spraying and why this is the form of disinfecting hospitals trust, click here.
Want more help getting your business ready to open? Contact us today to see how we can keep your employees and customers safe with our highly rated cleaning service..