In the United States, a lot of change has followed in the wake of the new coronavirus. How people work, shop, travel, go to school — practically every aspect of our lives has been affected.
Depending on where you’re located, you may have already adopted a slate of small-business workplace strategies for coronavirus safety. Whether you want to fine-tune your current policies or maybe completely rethink your operation, embracing change can keep your business competitive and running smoothly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies have issued several suggested guidelines for small businesses on how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. States and localities also have their own suggestions and rules. Importantly, though, you’ll want to gauge what would make your customers and employees feel comfortable in your place of business.
If possible, you may want to adopt any or all of these small-business workplace strategies during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the CDC:
No matter how much the current economy has affected your small business, management in the age of COVID-19 will not be the same as it was before. Your employees may be nervous. Or they may have questions about their jobs or whether they’ll be safe from infection. They may also be facing health or childcare challenges at home. Your workers will come to you for answers.
The pandemic and the shutdowns it caused around the country have led to many COVID-19 workforce changes for small businesses. Owners, in some cases, have altered how and when employees work, including the following:
Cutting energy costs will be one of your best small-business workforce strategies as the coronavirus continues to affect the economy. Luckily, there are several ways to cut energy use in your small business.
You can start by looking for energy waste. Make sure your staff is turning off lights when they leave a room. Turn off and unplug equipment that isn’t being used. Set your computers to go to sleep when not in use during the workday and shut them down at the end of the day. Find ways to use less paper, like printing on both sides of the sheet or reusing paper by printing on the back side of old documents. You may want to look for ways for your small business to go paperless.
Is your small business’s equipment using too much energy? If you haven’t already, consider swapping out any traditional light bulbs in your workplace for LED or CFL bulbs, which use much less energy. If you have a choice between a laptop or a desktop computer, choose the laptop; they’re much more energy efficient. And if you need to purchase equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR® label for guaranteed energy savings for your small business.
If you’re interested in improving your small-business’s energy efficiency but your cash flow is limited right now, you may be in luck. Your small business may qualify for an energy efficiency financing program.
As government shutdown restrictions ease, your small business may need to add to your workforce. Make sure all new safety or work policies are clearly communicated to your new employee(s). If you’re emphasizing energy savings, go over best practices, like turning off lights and equipment or what the best thermostat settings are. And it’s wise to cross-train your new employee to do multiple jobs, if possible. Doing so can keep your small business running smoothly even when you’ve got employees out.
If you alter your operating hours, your customers will need to know if and when you’re open. You’ll also want to explain what you’re doing to ensure safety (such as cleaning or mask wearing) and any new policies you have (like curbside pickup, delivery or online options).
Preserving the income for your small business is vital. Now is the time to get creative about engaging your customers. It’s not just about now; it’s an investment in your business’s future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put several new pressures on employers. In response, you may decide to reinvent your small business. Or you may choose to change in smaller ways, according to your ability and comfort level. But regardless, there are many small-business workplace strategies to meet the coronavirus moment we’re in. If you haven’t applied for a PPP loan yet, for instance, you may still be able to apply — and possibly with greater flexibility in the terms. With some planning and perseverance, you can rise to today’s challenge and continue to thrive into the future.
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