How to Re-open a small business or office during COVID19
“May the Fourth be with you.” This year in Ohio, the Star Wars inspired pun may carry a different meaning. Governor DeWine has recently announced that manufacturing, distribution and construction companies, and general business offices will be allowed to re-open starting on May 4th. While many are divided between excitement and anxiousness to get back into the physical office and resume a normal routine, many offices will need to adjust their daily operations in order to keep employees and customers safe. We wanted to offer general guidelines and some tips to re-opening the office safely.
Clean and Disinfect
One of the biggest components of keeping your staff safe is to follow the recommended cleaning and disinfecting guidelines put out by the CDC. These include everyday steps you can take, steps for when an employee is sick, and considerations for each employee.
In small offices, this may be more feasible for individual staff members to do their part in wiping down surfaces and practicing good hygiene. This may take more effort or outsourcing the cleaning and disinfecting if you are part of a larger office space.
If your company does need any cleaning services, I would highly recommend reaching out to the companies below.
Local Central Ohio Cleaning Companies:
- Stanley Steemer – https://www.stanleysteemer.com/
- Cummins Facility Services – https://www.cumminsfs.com
- Buckeye Commercial Cleaning – https://www.buckeyecommercialcleaning.com/
CDC Recommended Guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
Evaluate a longer-term work from home plan
Because many have worked from home since early to mid-March, you have had ample time to evaluate and monitor productivity. If your employees have been able to manage their workload or become even more productive, it might be time to consider a plan to transition some staff to work from home, at least occasionally. Make sure the technology you are utilizing is consistent across the board. This includes everything from communication, video conferencing, project management, and collaborative tools.
Invest in Social Distancing equipment – plexiglass coverings, cubicles/cubicle risers
If your business is requiring staff to work in office, you will still need to provide proper safety and social distancing measures in the office. With many companies opting for a more collaborative, open layout in recent years we could see a dramatic shift in office configurations. Many products are available from cubicles to cubicle/desk partitions which would allow for employees to be distanced adequately. Plexiglass barriers are also going to be a huge addition to offices working with customers face-to-face. If you need dividers or covering materials, please give us a call.
Provide PPE and hand sanitizer (if possible)
Increase the availability of virus-killing hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks (if you can source them) and be sure everyone knows how to use them effectively. As a thoughtful gesture, offer unscented lotion to your staff. This will keep everyone’s hands from drying out while keeping their hands clean. Encourage everyone to regularly clean high-traffic areas such as reception spaces and breakrooms.
Communication with staff and customers!
By this time, most companies have invested in a video conferencing tool and maintained necessary communication, but do not let up once you have re-entered the office space. Keep in contact with your employees to let them know of any status changes or updated procedures. Posting your new COVID guidelines on your Google page, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. will keep your followers up to date with proper protocol if they need to enter your office space. Right now, no communication is too much and speaking personally, it is greatly beneficial to understand how different companies will be operating moving forward.