17 Tips for When You Reopen Business After the COVID-19 Lockdown

A while back we discussed 14 Tips When Shutting Down Your Business Due to the COVID-19 Crisis for a Quick Bounce Back. During the last few days, we have been witnessing some relaxation on restrictions in the Middle-East and Europe and hopefully, soon we will be able to say the same for North America.

We have spoken briefly about going through the 4 phases of the COVID-19 lockdown and it seems that for some countries, at the time of writing this article, we are witnessing phase 3: “Preparing for a Bright Future”.

What to Keep in Mind When the Lockdown Eases

Business Will be Slow

The authorities have no other choice but to open up parts of the economy so that businesses like yours can start running again. However, your biggest challenge as a business owner will be ensuring that you run your business efficiently despite the constraints. You will need to get your business back on track despite what may be less traffic to your business due to the 1.5-meter (6 feet in the US) distance requirements for example. Work processes will be slow and your expenditure will go up.

A Learning Process

Keep in mind that you will be stepping into a brand-new world. There are many things that you used to take for granted that you will not be able to do easily. The type of effort you used to put in for ten customers may be needed to serve three customers due to the constraints. The use of protective screens at the cash register, sanitizing, and so on will be required and for the most part, there is no guide on a policy. You will have to learn as you go.

Rise in Compassion

You will also need to understand that people’s behavior will be different and that means you need to handle your customers differently. More compassion and empathy should be part of every business owner’s soft-skill set. Businesses that are more humane will do better than the ones that focus solely on performance.

17 Tips for Reopening Your Business

Now that we have that out of the way, here is what you can do. Some things may apply to you more than others depending on the nature of your business.

  1. Make sure your location has good air quality; think of high-efficiency filters and better ventilation.
  2. Install protective screens at the cash register a.k.a sneeze guards.
  3. Make sure everyone knows that it’s OK to stay home when sick.
  4. Make the 1.5 meters (6 feet in the US) rule possible by having workers come in on alternating days.
  5. If possible, identify those who can work from home and have only those who must come to the office alternate days.
  6. Keep an eye out for indicative symptoms.
  7. Educate your workers on safety measures and current COVID-19 trends.
  8. Just as you will be compassionate towards your customers, be compassionate towards your staff.
  9. Put in soft protocols for common areas such as the coffee place, printer toilet, prayer area, etc.
  10. Pay close attention to what the authorities in your region are advising.
  11. If you are recruiting, make sure you adopt a more virtual process. Here are 8 helpful resources for virtual recruiting during COVID-19.
  12. There should be no sharing of equipment, that’s a recipe for sharing germs, make sure every employee has what he/she needs.
  13. Don’t assume social distancing will be easy despite all the measures; you will keep learning and adapting.
  14. Don’t assume all of your employees will be ready to come back. Some of your staff members may be anxious about returning to work. Make sure you empathize with them and make plans to look for temporary replacements if needed.
  15. If your state or region requires your employees to wear masks, have a set policy in place on personal protective wear. This University of Rochester New Face Mask Policy may give you an idea of where to start.
  16. If your business is in an office environment, come up with a plan for how to handle visitors. 
  17. Have a look at “Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19” by the World Health Organization before opening your business.

It is important to manage expectations for yourself and your employees. Things will not get better overnight, and we’ll all need to get used to the new normal. Remember to stay positive and know that we are moving towards better days. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and be well-prepared.

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