How to Reopen Your Business Safely Amid COVID-19 Outbreaks
As more and more states begin to ease social distancing measures (as many as 31 by May 11), businesses will begin reopening at some capacity across the nation. Those businesses, however, are wondering how to do so safely as COVID-19 remains the nation’s top health concern. Employer Support Services is here to provide businesses with a guide on how to return your company and employees back to work safely.
Establish Your Policies and Comply with Federal Law
While the COVID-19 virus has only been declared a national emergency since March 13, 2020, by the United States President, the effects have been dramatic. One in four small businesses have temporarily shut down in response to COVID-19 according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Companies forced to shut down or move to remote work had to find new solutions and adapt new policies. Returning back to the physical office brings additional changes. As you begin bringing employees back to the office, ensure you are still complying with federal law.
- Post the Families Firs Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) poster in a visible location for employees
- Comply with all FFCRA Employer Requirements
In addition, take stock of your company’s needs now that you’ve had to adapt to operating differently. Do you need to fill new positions? Update your onboarding practice to be virtual? Do you need to revisit your leave policies for employees who have children at home or who have lost a loved one to COVID-19?
Consider all your general processes, policies, and benefits and how they may need to change to work for the new reality.
Create a Safe Work Environment Before They Return
As your employees begin returning back to the office, ensure you have proper health and safety policies and procedures established. You can follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations as well as establish additional measures to keep your employees safe.
Employer Support Services recommends following the CDC guidelines as follows:
- Spacing Work Areas Six Feet Apart
- Requiring Facemasks when working with customers
- Setting Up Hand Sanitizing Stations
- Cleaning High Traffic Areas Often – Phones, Door Handles, Work Stations, etc.
- Posting Social Distancing and Hygiene Tip Posters
- Encouraging Video or Phone Call Meetings Instead of In-Person
- Providing the Most Current Information on COVID-19
- Rotating Your Employees’ Shifts to Limit Large Groups
Make sure your employees know what is expected before they come into the office. In addition, you should encourage sick employees to stay home to prevent any spreading of the virus to the rest of your company. If any of your employees travel frequently, set up a separate quarantine policy when they return to keep the rest of your staff healthy.
Plan for Continued Complications
The nation, individual states, and health officials will all be stating different information and ordinances as more businesses begin to open to the public. It is important that your company is ready for any additional complications and problems that may arise as a result, so you are not blindsided. Ensure you build out a crisis communication plan for your business that covers:
- Employee, Customer, & Media Communication
- Business Continuity
- Work Schedules
- Leave Policies
- Additional Concerns
You’ll also want to set up your managers and employees for success as they come back to work when you reopen your business. Additional training may be needed as absenteeism spikes due to COVID-19 related reasons. Managers may need to be trained on responding to loss, leave requests for child or dependent care, and other stressors.
Employees may need cross-training across departments to combat possible absenteeism. This will ensure that business continues even if a whole department is out.
Employee accommodation may be higher in the coming months as the nation returns to work. Be ready to respond to likely and unlikely scenarios to ensure your business survives COVID-19.
Call Employer Support Services for More Information on Reopening Your Business
As always, we strive to support companies in their efforts to grow and succeed in their business. For more information and guidelines for reopening your business during the COVID-19 crisis, contact us today.