Maybe your team has been fully or partially remote since early 2020. Or, maybe you had to take some new precautions at your shop to stay safe (sanitizer, masks, limited indoor seating, etc.). Regardless, you know how crazy this last year or so has been for businesses. But thankfully, the dust is beginning to settle. And you know what that means? Hopefully, getting back to business as usual.
As restrictions begin to lift and things start going back to (somewhat) normal, take advantage of these six tips to get safely back to business.
1. Stay up-to-date on the latest restrictions
First things first, if you want to safely (and swiftly) get back to business post-COVID, stay up-to-date with what’s going on pandemic-wise in the news. This means following along to learn what you can and cannot do as a business owner while COVID is still somewhat prevalent.
To ensure you know the latest COVID rules, restriction lifts, and information, you can:
- Subscribe to blogs
- Receive email notifications
- Read the newspaper or watch the news
- Check out the CDC’s website
- Take a look at your state’s website
The more resources you have, the better. Check your resources regularly to make sure you are following new updates and making changes, if necessary.
2. Set health and safety expectations
With COVID restrictions lifting, your business can begin to go back to “normal.” Well, at least a new normal. But, restrictions lifting doesn’t mean you should throw all of your health and safety expectations and protocols out the window—especially because COVID isn’t gone for good just yet.
As per usual, make sure you set health and safety expectations for your staff and customers (if applicable). Post protocols around your business so they can be easily seen (e.g., front doors). And, update your policies (if you’d like to) as restrictions begin to lift. You may include rules about:
- Wearing masks while inside
- Showing vaccination cards
- Allowing vaccinated individuals to not wear masks
- Occupancy limits
- Social distancing
3. Communicate any new changes
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed a lot for businesses and workplaces around the globe. And with rules and restrictions constantly changing, you must keep your team, customers, and so on in the loop about anything new.
Let everyone know as soon as possible if there are any new COVID rules to follow. Or, if any old COVID restrictions are being lifted at your business.
To inform your team about any new changes, you can host a meeting (virtually or socially distanced, of course). Or, you can send out email updates.
If you have a storefront where customers can come inside, you can give them updates on new changes (e.g., no more masks in-store) via email or social media.
Whatever you do, make sure you keep your customers, team, etc. in the know about any COVID-related updates and stay in touch with them. That way, there is no confusion.
4. Have a game plan just in case
Like with anything in business, it’s always good to have a game plan in case something bad or unexpected happens. To help protect your company in case of a COVID outbreak after going back to business as usual, create a plan (if you don’t have one already).
Your plan should include information about:
- How to inform staff and customers about the outbreak
- How long you’ll be shut down for
- Return-to-work procedures for staff
- Sanitizing procedures
Depending on the size of your business and the environment (e.g., office building), you may need to include additional information in your plan. Keep your plan handy in your employee handbook. And, be sure to have each employee sign a copy of the procedure to verify they understand your business’s game plan.
5. Be open to remote work options
Remote work swept the nation in 2020 due to COVID-19. And for some businesses, remote work is becoming a permanent part of their policies. In fact, 25% of Americans will still be working from home in 2021. To help keep your company safe while easing back into the swing of things, consider adapting or continuing remote work.
If you want to get safely back to business, stay open to alternatives—like remote work. If you tested the remote waters in 2020, maybe you’ll continue to let some or all of your employees work from home as an extra precaution. Or, maybe consider experimenting more with working remotely in 2021.
Regardless, be open to remote work options (if applicable) to help keep your team and company safe and healthy. Not completely sold on the idea? Here are a few perks of remote work to keep in mind:
- Better work-life balance
- Increase in productivity
- Less stress for employees (think long commutes)
- Decrease in overhead costs
6. Make your business and employees your #1 priority
Last, but certainly not least, when getting back to business in a post-COVID era, you absolutely must make your business and employees your #1 priority.
Without your employees, your business wouldn’t be where it’s at today. Not to mention, without your team, you wouldn’t be able to get back to business in the first place. So, keep your employees safe while transitioning back into the office, storefront, etc. Make sure your employees feel comfortable with working conditions (e.g., allowing customers to come in without masks). And, listen to any concerns your team has.
Along with putting your team first, do everything in your power to protect your business. Keep in mind that COVID restrictions lifting doesn’t mean your business has to remove the current restrictions you have for employees and customers (e.g., mandatory masks).
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re putting your business and staff first.