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For many months, businesses across the world have either been closed or operating from employee homes rather than central bases. As several nations start to emerge on the other side, it is vital for business owners to be aware of the challenges and risks posed by the pandemic and to take steps to maximise safety in the coming weeks and months. If you’re preparing to reopen, you have employees coming back to work, or you’re gearing up to welcome customers, this guide is packed with useful tips.
Understanding guidelines and legislation
The Covid-19 crisis represents an unprecedented challenge for governments, company owners, medical professionals, scientific advisers and law and policy-makers. There is no blueprint for this situation, and as such, new guidelines and recommendations are coming into play on a rolling basis. As an employer, it is essential to keep up to date with new procedures and legislation and to make sure you understand what it is required and expected of you. Unions, government departments and organisations are working with business owners to establish clear guidance and provide support and advice.
Keeping employees safe
The Coronavirus poses a threat to all of us, and the aim for employers is to reduce the risk of infections and keep staff safe as best they can. There are several measures that can be employed to promote health and safety and protect employees. The exact steps you take will depend on the nature of the business you run and the findings of risk assessments. If you operate a store, for example, you should look into ways of reducing the numbers of staff and customers to make social distancing possible and using social distancing floor graphics to keep people apart. It is also crucial to adopt infection control procedures and intensive cleaning measures, and you might also want to provide hand sanitiser and advise staff and clients to wear face coverings. All employees should be aware of the steps that are being taken to shield them, and providing training or workshops linked to new policies is hugely beneficial. It’s also advisable to offer access to resources and to encourage anyone who does have concerns or questions to get in touch with senior management or health and safety advisers through email or phone or video calls.
Communicating with customers
Every business needs customers to survive. For many companies, sales will have slumped in the last three months, and the task of rebuilding is a daunting one. Communication will play a key role in restarting business and encouraging clients to place orders or make purchases again. Keep in touch, market your products and services using techniques and channels that will reach your target market, and provide clients with options where possible. Some people may be desperate to get out of the house post-lockdown, but others may be anxious. Offering contactless delivery or click and collect options may be helpful in the short-term. It’s also advantageous to inform customers about the guidelines you are following to keep them safe. This will inspire confidence at a time when many may be reluctant to leave home still.
If you’re looking to reopen your business, bring employees back and start encouraging customers to get in touch again, it is vital to prioritise safety.