How to plan for returning to business when the time is right
While we encourage you to diligently follow your state and local recommendations when making the decision to reopen your operations, we expect it’s on many business owners’ minds.
We want to provide some information so you can think ahead and start considering the important decisions you’ll be facing when you reopen. That way you’ll be in a more prepared position when the time does come.
That’s why we touched base with Nick Knihnisky, Buildertrend’s legal expert, on the best practices to consider when it’s time to get back to business. Here’s what he had to say:
Social distancing plans
Many state and local orders currently require essential businesses to have written social distancing plans in place. Even if not legally required, we strongly recommend implementing social distancing plans to protect employees, reassure those who fear returning to work, and reduce your liability upon reopening. For your social distancing plan, you should consider:
- Workspace modifications, such as spaced workstations and floor plans
- Limiting in-person interactions, including increased reliance on technology tools to communicate
- Scheduling updates to reduce the number of employees at the workplace at a given time
- Training employees on social distancing policies and protocols. While you should be able to adhere to social distancing guidelines at the worksites, continue to reiterate six feet rules.
Ensuring a safe workplace is paramount to reopening your business. Consider whether you need to implement screening protocols for employees, customers and other office visitors. This should include potentially conducting temperature screens (either in-person or remote) and symptom checks to prevent sick employees from entering the workplace in the first place. Keep in mind that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. You must remember that any health information you collect needs to be treated like private medical information and protected from other viewers.
It is more important than ever to have a clean office. Consider whether you need to perform additional cleaning and disinfecting, particularly in common use areas and any items handled by customers. Also discuss whether you need to have some degree of personal protective equipment also known as PPE on hand at the office. This includes masks and gloves for those employees interacting with clients on a daily basis. We all want to have a personal, informal connection with clients, but any visitors should recognize the necessity of these items and your team and clients might expect them.
Communication to your team
Develop a communication plan for employees that explains any safety protocols, references any benefits or perks the company is offering (including the ability to continue to work from home), and allows for input from your employees. You have likely learned a number of lessons from this experience and you should implement those for future operations. Overcommunicate any decisions to your employees so that they are aware of the changes you are making.
These are unprecedented times for everyone. No one will be perfect in their plan to resume their operations as they once existed. Get feedback from your employees and incorporate that in your plans. If employees are uncomfortable with any steps, consider their rationale.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for how to reopen and bounce back from the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nick recommends you should be sensitive to employee requests and should look at who can return to work on an individualized basis. If an employee is seeking an accommodation, it is best to consider the full circumstances before making a decision.
As much as we all want to get back to how things once were, we all need to be conscious of the realities. Be sure to diligently track and follow any state or local recommendations. The last thing anyone wants is to come down with a highly infectious illness.
If you’re looking for more resources on running your business during these uncertain times, check out our COVID-19 Resource Hub for more blogs, podcasts and webisodes, updated weekly with informative information to help you address the realities of this pandemic.
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