With each passing day, we are one step closer to finding a vaccine that will bring this devastating chapter in our personal, and business lives to a conclusion. Until that day comes, there are multiple steps businesses should take in order to protect the health and safety of employees, and customers while ensuring the survival of your business.
Understand and Apply for Government Loans and Protection Programs
Federal and state governments enacted legislation aimed at helping businesses survive the pandemic. It is essential that businesses understand and apply for available, helpful governmental assistance. Moreover, it is important for businesses to understand the program rules to maximize benefits. My partner, Rachel Stark can also offer assistance on this topic.
Stay In Touch With Employees
Many employees are working remotely. It is important to try to mimic the interaction we once enjoyed when we worked collaboratively in the office. Schedule regular video chats using Microsoft Teams or Zoom to keep employees engaged and to provide opportunities for socialization. I recommend video chatting over conference calls because it gives remotely working employees a reason to “freshen up,” and is closer to in-person interaction than a phone call.
Unfortunately, working remotely coupled with mandated shut downs can make employees more prone to mental fatigue, depression, and reduced productivity. Regularly scheduled video conferences should be used to communicate with employees and keep them motivated.
The Philadelphia Eagles implemented a virtual program to build teamwork and to keep their players and coaches engaged, which is a great example to follow.
Regularly Communicate With Your Customers
It is important to regularly engage with and keep in touch with your customers. Regularly update your company’s website to let them know how you are conducting business (curbside pick-up, home delivery, in-store services). Let your clients know the steps your business is taking to ensure their safety and the safety of your employees.
Clearly communicate your safety rules to customers so they feel safe and come prepared to do business with your company pursuant to your policies and procedures. Your customers want to know what steps your business is taking to ensure their safety. Simple steps such as placing hand sanitizers throughout your office spaces will help make customers feel safer, reduce the spread of the virus, and will send the right message to your customers that safety is a top priority.
Be Obsessive About Hygiene
Keep your employees and customers safe by being as proactive as possible about cleanliness in the work space. Think about, implement, and enforce safety rules and procedures, such as requiring employees and customers to wear face masks, putting up sneeze guards and separators, maintaining social distancing, and prohibiting sick employees and customers from entering your business. The CDC offers guidance for cleaning and disinfecting workplaces, businesses, and homes.
If your business requires face masks for in-store purchases and services (recommended) make sure your employees and customers are adhering to those rules. Being consistent and disciplined about hygiene reassures and protects your customers, guests, and employees. Consistently consult the CDC’s website for recommendations how to protect your employees, guests, and customers.
Industry Trade Organizations Can Offer Ideas, Solutions and Help
Use industry specific trade organizations as a resource, as they understand the specific needs, concerns, and challenges your business faces. Like you, they are thinking about the challenges COVID-19 is creating for your industry. They are also thinking about solutions. We recommend you use these solutions to help your business get through this difficult time.
We hope this and our other blog posts about COVID-19 are useful and helpful. Stark & Stark has been serving our communities and clients since 1933. We have always been there when it matters most, and we will all get through this together.