COVID-19 has greatly impacted businesses around the world. As businesses will slowly begin to open up again in the coming weeks, everyone must have a solid strategy when looking forward to the future and a return to normalcy.
Stay on top of Your Local Government’s Rules and Guidance
While some regions are allowing a business to reopen, it doesn’t automatically mean that your business operations are allowed to resume as well. It is important to understand and review all relevant orders to determine if and when your business is allowed to reopen. If you don’t understand the rules and guidance provided by your local authority, please reach out to have any of your questions or concerns clarified.
Have a Solid Reopening Plan
If and when your business is allowed to reopen, a thorough risk assessment should be performed before reopening. The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a helpful guide on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.
Once a risk assessment is conducted, measures will need to be taken to manage the risks associated with reopening. Control measures could include cleaning protocols, mandating PPE usage, work from home orders and even placing barriers between workers and the hazard.
Continue Social Distancing
Social Distancing has been recommended by health and government officials to help stop the spread of COVID-19. While social distancing has been in place now since March, businesses starting to reopen need to continue to practice social distancing in the workplace.
To Practice Social Distancing:
- Stay 6+ feet away from each other
- Do not gather in groups
Social distancing best practices for businesses may include limiting the number of employees on the job site, hosting meetings virtually and discouraging people from shaking hands.
Manage Employees Different Risk Levels
Be aware of which employees may be at higher risk such as older adults and those with other medical conditions. You may need to assign different work tasks to these employees so that they maintain a safe distance from other works or customers.
If an employee is sick, ensure that they do not come into work, or are sent home as soon as they begin feeling ill. If an employee does get COVID-19, inform other employees as soon as possible, while keeping the employees name confidential. They are not to return to work until they are virus free. Also, be sure to contact the local health authorities about the employee’s illness and work with them; they will work with you on next steps.
Keep Employees Informed of Changes
To ensure that reopening runs as smoothly as possible, considering the circumstances, it is important to ensure all employees are informed of the changes being put in place by your business. As changes continue to occur over the next few months, you will want to keep them updated. Weekly emails and/or posts in the office may be the most effective way to keep employees informed.
Remember that this is an uncertain time for everyone. While businesses are eager to reopen, we must do so in a sensible way to keep everyone safe and healthy.