During the coronavirus pandemic, organizations have been forced to close, scale back or otherwise change their operations substantially just to keep the business running. With the country starting to reopen, states and localities are introducing rapidly changing regulations and protocols in an effort to keep everyone safe. As a small business owner, keeping up with all of these changes can feel like a full-time job in and of itself.
So when it comes to how to keep your business alive during the coronavirus comeback, you’ll want to make adjustments in the best interest of your employees, clients and community. These four business continuity tips can help you successfully wage this period of uncertainty and any future ones, too.
1. Develop a Reopening Plan
If your office has been closed, create a reopening plan that abides by state and local municipality mandates. Your reopening plan may require you to:
- Stagger employee schedules to accommodate social distancing guidelines.
- Go above and beyond in sanitation and cleaning efforts to kill virus-spreading germs.
- Perform health checks, such as temperature scans, on employees entering the building to curb virus transmission.
This is also an opportune time to assess whether remote work can continue to serve your business needs. Working from home allows your employees to stay safe while completing their duties; so if this arrangement has been beneficial for everyone, consider leaving it in place for now and perhaps adding it to your standard benefit offerings.
Once you determine these new guidelines, lay them out in a clear expectation policy. This can help your team bounce back with purpose and limit disruptions along the way.
2. Take Care of Your Employees
To keep the business running and meet pandemic guidelines, you’ll need your employees’ support and they’ll need yours. Maintaining good communication with your workers, including those who are temporarily furloughed or laid off, allows you to deliver reassurance to employees and ensure they have everything they need for a successful return.
Share your reopening plan with your workforce as well as any changes and regulations they’ll need to follow regarding mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing, COVID-19 testing, temperature-taking, staggered scheduling or social distancing. The more informed your team is, the better they can follow the new rules, provide good service and, ideally, maintain productivity. Plus, keeping employees in the know can be a great way to boost office morale and foster trust in leadership.
3. Expand Your Offerings and Give Back
Beyond offering their normal products and services, many companies have found ways to help communities, such as posting helpful coronavirus information on their social media feeds or sharing exclusive recipes. Apple even updated its Siri technology so it could better answer users’ COVID-19 questions.
Your business doesn’t have to be a behemoth tech giant to help others, though. Consider donating funds earmarked for canceled office events to a local charity or approving volunteer time off so employees can give back. You can even make giving back a social event by holding a bingo or trivia night, either virtually or semi-virtually, that raises money for a cause that’s important to your company.
4. Promote Self-Care and Stress Relief
To keep your business afloat during this time of transition, you’ll need to focus on efforts to boost employee morale. Why? Because as Entrepreneur puts it, a happy workforce is a productive workforce. “Eliminating stress and negativity leads to a boost in the productivity of employees,” the magazine explains. “When employees are happy and motivated, they invest all their energy to ensure the best results.”
When everyone is firing on all cylinders and working together, your business can tackle pretty much anything that comes its way. So promote positivity whenever possible. Consider kicking off meetings with a dose of humor—so long as it’s work appropriate, of course—or starting a good vibes newsletter that highlights happy tales from your employees’ lives. And find ways to bring stress down, such as by offering wellness stipends that can be used for courses or expanding your mental health benefits. If you’re not sure where to start, poll your employees to determine what sort of benefit they need most right now.
Keeping your business alive can be a challenge, especially these days. But whether you’re using social media to connect with clients or providing extra support to your workforce, there are many ways to ensure your business successfully weathers this pandemic.
With United Concordia Dental’s Employer Toolkit, running your small business is a whole lot easier. With expert guidance on benefits to educational newsletters, this resource has everything you’ll need to keep your office informed and in control of their health.