Small Business Guide to Reopening
Getting Back to Business – Quick Guide to Reopening a Business
Along with many countries easing their restrictions, Cambodia has also reopened by lifting the travel ban within provinces and cities, as well as for several countries. This resulted to many tourist destinations reopening and businesses looking into ways to reoperate safely.
However, whatever industry you’re in, once you decide to reopen, you’re going to have to do it in a very different way prior to Covid-19. In reopening a business, owners must not only think of how they’re going to do daily operations but also about the social repercussions.
So how are you going to do that? These are the four key steps you should know before reopening your business:
Step 1: Identify the Level of Risk of your Business
Businesses operate differently and this means that every business faces a different level of risk. Not all businesses are bound to take big changes, so to help you understand the baseline level of risk your business might encounter in reopening, these are some questions you need to assess first hand:
- Does your business receive a high-footfall? Does it require interacting in a high density environment? Ex: Clubs and bars receive crowds of customers who are physically and verbally interacting with each other.
- Does the interaction in your business require physical contact with employees or clients? How long does it usually take? Ex: Exercise classes sometimes require fitness trainers to touch their trainees.
- Is the size of your business space enough to be capable of the changes? How much capacity can it accommodate with social distancing? [Ex: In restaurants, is the kitchen big enough for the staff to follow social distancing while working.
- Within your business premise, does it have a highly-touched surface? What are those? Ex: With gyms, weights are used and passed from person to person.
- Are there ways to change the setting of your business operations? [Ex: Can customers dine outdoors]
- Do you have employees who are over 65 years old or have compromised health issues? Can they possibly work from home? Ex: Office jobs are usually done with laptops, suitable for remote work.
- Is it possible to limit the size of your employees, customers, or class?
Step 2: Planning and Preparation
Based on the assessment of your business’ vulnerabilities and level of risk, you may now proceed on listing the options you can do to modify your business, and take mitigation measures to reduce the risk. You should have a careful plan and preparation because you’re not only going to deal with the customers but their health as well.
Note that the changes in your business are both applied operational and financial. At this time of pandemic, because a lot of businesses have shut down, the supply is much lower and the demand is higher. Thus, raising your rates may be a possible course of action since your operational cost is expected to increase.
Step 3: Modify your Business Operations
From what we all know, the virus can be passed from person to person or object to person through fomite transmission. This is the main basis of all businesses in modifying their business operations. Here are some general guidelines you can follow to reduce the risk of virus transmission:
- Train your staff on the new workflow, from front door to back, before reopening.
- Build areas of protection. Since the virus spread through droplets, you can install glass barriers to block the droplets from flying out.
- Operate with less employees at a time. In order to follow social distancing, you can separate the employees from different sets of shifts, so that there are less people interacting but everyone can still work.
- Extend your operating hours. With prolonged operating hours, your business can receive more customers daily but less at a time, and it gives an amount of time for disinfecting in between operations.
- Stagger the return of employees and allow them to continue to work from home if possible. Organize the teams of your business. Separate those that deal with physical work and digital work, that way you’ll know who can work remotely and who can’t.
- Increase cleaning and disinfecting efforts especially in common areas. Clean high-touch surfaces like door handles, light switches, and elevator buttons. Put sanitation stations indoor and outside.
- Make a one-way entry and exit, so people will not bump to each other.
- Put signages on how you do social distancing inside your firm or how to sanitize properly.
- Implement single-use options to prevent any object handed from person to person. Use disposable utensils or implement cashless / contactless payment process.
- Facilitate everything from customers to your employees. The segregation of teams and shifts will help you distinguish quickly whose team should be quarantined if a case flares up. With customers, maintain a contact by phone number or email to easily send off information if any uncertainty comes up.
Step 4: Implement Precautionary Measures
Once your operations are set, you now have to implement safety protocols and hygiene practices within your staff, clients, vendors, and customers to ensure their safety.
- Consider an antibody testing on your employees before reopening and continue monitoring your employees’ health. This will build up the safety confidence of your employees, vendors, and customers.
- Health screening, temperature checks, minimized contact or social distancing.
- Wearing masks and PPEs, if necessary.
- Setting up sanitation stations and implementing a regular washing of the hands.
- If you have employees that are 65 years older, or any age with compromised immune systems, let them work from home.
Why Should Businesses Follow These Measures?
The new workflow may be a little too much but all it takes is one person to get infected by going to your store or shop, for it to be reported on the news.
For instance, a restaurant along the street decides to operate like there’s no pandemic, then a customer who came to eat in the restaurant got infected. Once the case makes it on the news, the government may not only order to shut down other businesses nearby, but also all the restaurants across the country.
Reckless and negligent businesses who do not take precautionary measures may end up spreading the virus, posing more fear in the community, and delaying the economic growth of the country. The economy is not stimulated by the money you receive from the government, it is stimulated by businesses and consumers making money, spending money and repeating the cycle.
So if businesses can give the community a sense of security and safety, the economy will start to get back to normal. But the more reckless businesses are in reopening, the more consumers will stay in fear, the longer the economy will reheal, and the worse effect it will have on the entire country.