What to do, not do and most importantly, hang in there
Ask a provider, retailer or manufacturer, what do you need to do to keep your staff safe and your business running.
I. If you are currently having people come into your office, then post a warning sign at the entrance. A good example is:
Your next issue is dealing with employee issues.
Face it, you can’t get any work out of any employee who is too scared to come to work or won’t. First try educating them and more importantly dispelling any bad information they are getting. Only refer them to the CDC or WHO sites. Maybe your state health site after you have reviewed it.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Several colleges & universities have good sites up if your employees are not so trusting of governments. Here is one: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/features/coronavirus?utm_source=Watson&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=opres_alumni-awareness_fy20_covid-19%20(1)&spMailingID=32008554&spUserID=MjMwODA2MzM0MTUyS0&spJobID=1664148695&spReportId=MTY2NDE0ODY5NQS2
Make everyone wash their hands after entering the building and frequently throughout the day. WHO has a video on how to properly wash your hands: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=covid+19 The worst thing an employee can do is put gloves on and keep them on. Contaminants get spread quickly that way.
Anyone who is dealing with members of the public, like the UPS delivery driver even, should probably wear gloves. Have UPS leave the deliveries at a spot on the floor (or outside) and do not touch the boxes for a few minutes/hours. Then spray the outside of the boxes with a disinfectant. Unless something has been shipped priority, Covid 19 dies after five-days. Some experts say you can’t get the virus from boxes, some say you can.
Disposable loves are cheap and effective. They should not be worn all day. After contact with anything that might have a virus, peel them off and throw them away. Globus has great information on wearing, using and disposing of gloves. https://rec-law.us/3doaapd
You probably want to increase the number of trash cans around your office and warehouse. Any tissues, gloves or anything that might be infected should be thrown away immediately. Do not allow employees to blow their nose and stick the tissue in a pocket or up their sleeve. Grab a case of tissues to leave around the office. (Don’t worry, tissues and toilet paper come from Canada, we’ll never run out. We are only making Canadian’s laugh!)
All other items coming into the office should be sprayed with a disinfectant.
In that regard, this might be a good time to go green and eliminate all paper communications.
Furthermore, provide hand disinfectant throughout the faculty so your employees can feel comfortable.
Once you have educated them, then give them the opportunity to determine how they want to work and where they want to work. If they have the resources and bandwidth, have them work from home. Forward phones call coming to them to their home numbers or their cell phones. If you can, discourage giving out their home or cell phone numbers.
Let your employees now and probably inform any visitors that you are also taking any of the following measures.
- Cleaning all common areas every hour or after someone leaves.
- Providing hand sanitizer at check-in and check-out
- Disinfecting pens, iPads, etc. after every use
- Enhanced patient screening and rescheduling those in high-risk groups
- At most, 1-2 clients in the office at any given time to support “social distancing”
You can add any of the above to any signage you may create for employees and visitors.
If you do not have handwashing facilities easily available, you can create purchase or create them. There are many nice stations you can purchase and have delivered, or you can make your own. This is one used on river trips: https://rec-law.us/38H5LKo You do not need to get this creative. The soap dispenser and the brace for the bulb can be eliminated. Just put the soap on the ground. You can duct tape the outlet to a spring clamp and then clamp the outlet to the bucket. You’ll need two five-gallon buckets. One for clean water to go in and one for the dirty water to pump into to. If you want to double up, put a few drops of Clorox or chlorine in the clean water bucket to kill anything in there. Put a roll of paper towels next to the bucket to dry with and a garbage can or third 5-gallon bucket to put the paper towels in. Setup, take down and empty and refill the buckets wearing gloves. These work great for warehouses or outside locations.
Here is another system you can buy: https://www.downriverequip.com/camping/kitchen/down-river-equipment/down-river-hand-wash-station-pid-1954
You don’t need to get this elaborate.
II. Dealing with third party businesses
Contact your supplies and dealers and tell them to ship everything slow for the next coming weeks. Slow meaning taking at least five (5) days. That should kill any virus on the inside of any packaging. If you feel the need, or you are receiving items that may host a virus, set up a quarantine area and leave packages there, untouched, until you can determine they are safe to open.
Dependent upon your age and health condition, cancel most meetings and lunches and learn how-to video conference. conference. You will be doing more of this in the future; you might as well learn to do it now.
III. Postponing meetings, dates, seminars, etc.
Don’t postpone and leave the new date and time in the wind. If you are going to postpone a meeting, schedule the next meeting when you postpone the first one. Right now, nothing is going to happen the rest of March and part of April and after that there are going to be thousands of meetings scheduled. Get your scheduling done now. If people have paid in advance to have a session, meeting or whatever with you, postponing the meeting gives them the chance to get their money back. Schedule the next meeting and don’t give them that opportunity.
If things get worse and not better, postpone the next meeting too. However, don’t leave people up in the air on when they are going to see you.
Closing your business not knowing how long your business must be closed is difficult. Especially because it is not the business so that is the carrier but the people. Fewer people, spaced out, less likely to have a problem.
The Washington Post has a great page on how the virus moves and what works and may not work. Read this and watch the examples before you close: https://rec-law.us/2wtEwpx
Also think about what you offer. If you provide the kid programs, after just a few days of being trapped inside a house with little to do but video games and TV, getting kid’s outdoors, where the virus does not do well, might be a relief for the kids and parents.
If you have to, get the word out immediately and close immediately. I laugh at businesses that announce they are going to close, 2 days from the announcement. Why close then? Send employees home, change the website, put an answering service on the phone and a sign on the door. Notify your delivery companies you will not be there to accept packages, and you’ll be back later or set up a date and time to accept packages a couple of times a week. Then lock the doors.
The information and course of this outbreak are moving as fast as the outbreak itself….if not faster. This is a draft because you need to stay on top of things for your business, do your research and deal with your employees and customers in the way they need and want to be dealt with.
Stay flexible. Stay vigilant, Be Prepared
What do you think? Leave a comment.
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