Governments around the globe have taken precautionary steps and implemented regulations in order to keep citizens safe and ultimately, slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But despite the strict shelter in place and safer at home measures, many businesses have either opted to stay open or are considered essential to their communities.
Grocery store workers, healthcare professionals, delivery drivers, and restaurant staff are just a few of the industries that are still operating to benefit everyone else at home. But staying open for business puts staff and customers at risk if business owners don’t take proper health and safety precautions. Most importantly, is the need for sanitation standards and material handling safety tips. In this post, we’ll share 5 safety tips for businesses operating under the pressures of a global pandemic.
Purchase Protective Gear When Possible
Having protective supplies on-hand for staff is one of the most effective ways you can keep your employees healthy, happy, and at work, but it’s not so easy to do right now. The increased demand for these products in hospitals and essential businesses has depleted medical supply inventories all over the globe. But the good news is, several companies have stepped up to help businesses stay open while also doing their diligence to protect all staff and customers involved.
A promotional products vendor is one example. After experiencing the economic effects of the coronavirus, the company decided to shift production to fill the demand for supplies like hand sanitizer, digital thermometers, gloves, and medical masks. What’s more, much of their iHealth inventory has been reserved for essential businesses and medical facilities to order at affordable prices. If you’re able to provide your staff with any protective gear, it’s wise to do so. Not only will this make your team feel safe, but it will comfort your customers as well.
Practice Clear Communication
Social distancing has quickly become the new normal for public outings but figuring out the rules and remembering to follow them has been an adjustment, to say the least. You have to practice the best business communication possible during the pandemic. If your business is open for the public at this time, your best tool for keeping yourself and your customers safe is making expectations as clear as possible. Take Starbucks for example. The coffee giant recently announced that all of their US and Canadian cafes would transition to drive-thru service in response to COVID-19 concerns. By making their announcements accessible on their website and app, through social media, and store location signage, the business shows that they’re taking the crisis seriously while still committing to serving their customers.
Other businesses have reminded their customers and staff to abide by health and safety guidelines by posting hand washing signage and making six-feet markers to encourage people to maintain safe distances from one another.
To reduce the potential for person-to-person spread, many businesses have started to limit how many people and staff members can be on-site at a time. Some stores, like Costco, have taken their actions a step further by offering special shopping hours for those considered to be high-risk. Costco introduced their special COVID-19 grocery shopping hours to allow members 60 and older exclusive access Tuesday through Thursday from 8-9 AM. Determine the best store hours depending on the safest time to spread influx crowds of people.
Ramp Up Cleaning
Another way businesses can do their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus is by increasing and improving cleaning processes. The CDC has released several publications with cleaning and disinfecting recommendations for businesses to follow.
- Some of the main takeaways include:
- Regularly washing fabric items
- Disinfecting high-touch surfaces with soap and water, at least daily
- Wipe down electronics (such as your point of sale equipment) often
- Wear protective personal equipment when cleaning
- Wash your hands before and after cleaning, for at least 20 seconds
Keep Staff Updated
This is a scary, uncertain time for all of us. Keep staff updated so they entire team can focus on cleaning up your business. While your staff is likely happy to be at work, it’s important to maintain clear and consistent communication to keep everyone safe and on the same page. In addition, employers should be reminded that long hours and emotional stress can take a toll on employees, so keeping morale in tact should also be among your top priorities. For staff who need an outlet for their stress or feelings of uncertainty, consider directing them to free COVID-19 therapy resources that they can use to help preserve their mental health while continuing to work in the current climate.
Staying positive, being flexible, and showing kindness will go a long way in keeping your staff and your customers feeling happy and healthy.