Many businesses throughout the United States have been reopening after months of lockdown intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. Over the past few months, a large portion of these businesses have implemented precautions to combat the spread. A question that still remains, is if these precautions are actually working or not.
Several experts are predicting a second wave of the novel virus this Fall, or perhaps in the immediate future. Over the last couple weeks, cases have been continuing to rise as businesses of all sizes scramble to take the right measurements. Whether we see a second wave or not, the COVID-19 pandemic will most likely influence business operations well into the future. A variety of regions in the U.S. have already paused reopening plans as cases begin to rise once again.
If your business is in the process of reopening or already reopened but having trouble, here are a few strategies you can use to prepare for a potential second wave in your area.
Follow the Safety Guidelines
As states continue to reopen, local governments are issuing safety guidelines businesses should follow to keep employees and customers safe. Some requirements within these guidelines might be to provide protective equipment for employees returning to the office, keep up an extensive cleaning schedule, or make adjustments to your workplace providing more transparent glass barriers and space between workers. Businesses that don’t make these adjustments may be exposed to unnecessary legal liability.
Make sure your operations are directly aligned with recommendations given from your local government. New protocols may require you to be more flexible, translating to more frequent cleaning or allowing employees to continue working from home if possible. Maintain strict safety measures even if infections continue to drop. It’s good business, reducing the risk of liability exposure, generating good will and helping your community get back to normal sooner, rather than later. Being a good member of the community is good business.
In the early stages of the pandemic, essential items like personal protective equipment, paper goods, and cleaning supplies became scarce. If you’re finding it easier to gather these supplies now, consider keeping a reasonable stockpile of key things in preparation of a potential second wave of infections.
Reassess your business operations
Take this time to analyze how your business has adapted to the spread and how your infrastructure has changed. Many companies were forced to transition their work entirely online during the quarantine to preserve business. Now is a good time to explore how this period of remote work affected your results and make any adjustments necessary to help employees be most productive from home. Furthermore, if this period of remote work went fluently, you may consider a half-permanent shift to remote services until the viral spread is under control.
This may be the right time to supply employees with better equipment, buy new software or to work out communication problems within teams. Equipping your employees with the most effective material can boost productivity, and ultimately morale, as well. In order to fund functional necessities that could benefit your business, invest in a small business loan. Small businesses may take out a loan to satisfy operational costs until their earnings reach a specific volume. This process also helps organizations increase working capital used for day-to-day operations while preserving cash flow. Always be ready to adapt.
Take care of your employees
As a result of the viral spread, the protection of your employees should become a top priority. However, this causes the roles of certain employees to become substantially more demanding. Now is a good time to cross-train employees, especially for essential jobs that are difficult to delay for a couple weeks while an employee is sick. Having employees that are trained to be versatile will also increase opportunities for advancement within the company.
If every employee is equipped with all the right resources they need to take over new roles on short notice, your business will be more resilient. Perhaps some employees have struggled to get accustomed to remote working tools like video conferencing programs or simply just being effective at home. This gives you the opportunity to support your employees while they work from home or provide more in-depth training to make remote work easier. Take care of your employees so that they take care of you.
Keep careful track of your finances
If your business had a hard time keeping up during the lockdown, take this opportunity to reassess your financial statistics and see where you can cut back without letting go of any of your employees. However, if you’ve noticed that your business is experiencing a decrease in demand, you may need to reconsider your staffing requirements.
If your business was lucky enough to effectively navigate the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic without large financial losses, make sure you have funds set aside in case of a second detrimental wave. If you do have funds left over, prioritize where it might make the most sense to support your employees or your consumer community.
During this time of overwhelming circumstances, it’s complicated to fully understand what business owners and their employees are going through at work and at home. By carefully tracking, learning and adapting, we can be better prepared for future events.