Keeping both customers and staff safe during these difficult times is not easy. There are some unique health challenges that companies haven’t ever faced, but also regular issues that shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Here are 4 tips to help the small business owner keep their team and customers both healthy and safe.
1. A First Line of Defense
If you have a small office or a store where clients or customers will visit, then it is necessary to take precautions. Having Sneeze Guards installed (plexiglass shields that separate the visitor from the receptionist) is an effective way to do so. While front-facing staff should be wearing a face mask and be socially distanced, protecting them from germs spreading is especially useful too.
Many companies, sports organizations, and branches of the military have adopted these types of plexiglass solutions. The list includes the U.S. Navy, Nasa, Walmart, the NFL, and others.
2. Keeping Staff Safer for their Families
Staff who come onto the premises, be that a retail store or an office, will later return to their homes. When they don’t live alone or possibly have families, then it increases the risk of passing something on to other people close to them.
It’s important to avoid unnecessary risks to keep all staff safe and healthy. Certainly, when meeting third parties, a six-foot distance should be maintained in a carefully planned setting to engage with prospective clients in a protected manner. Many people in the business world will understand such precautions and staff will surely appreciate the effort too.
3. Health Checks (Virtually or In-Person)
It is up to the company whether they feel it’s necessary to perform daily health checks of staff and visitors. The CDC has indicated that this is optional rather than highly recommended.
A temperature check of staff and visitors using no-contact thermometers is useful. While it does not indicate that they are infected with anything untoward (it could be something more minor), it’s a sensible protective measure. It’s also possible for virtual or remote employees to be provided with testing kits.
However, companies should be aware of the need to keep medical records confidential. Therefore, management should be careful about what declarations are given should an employee get flagged for an elevated temperature reading.
4. Decide on Face Mask Policies Early
Whether it’s required that staff should wear a face mask at the office or in the store, or only in certain circumstances, it’s something that should be decided early. Similarly, a company-wide or store-wide face mask policy must be clear to all.
There have been instances in businesses lately where members of the public have refused to wear a mask. Businesses must therefore be prepared for this possibility, communicate clearly how employees should respond, and outline what steps can be taken to resolve the matter satisfactorily.
Clearly, the policy must factor in keeping the staff safe at all times, with customer care being a secondary but important consideration too.
Ultimately, staff cannot help customers if they’re getting ill themselves because of inadequate health and safety measures being in place. Employees must not only be safe but feel protected too. Where appropriate, companies should take special precautions for people who fall under the category of the more vulnerable, such as older employees and those with respiratory diseases like COPD or asthma. Working remotely is one possibility here.