These are unprecedented times. The coronavirus pandemic is impacting our lives in ways we’ve never experienced before – and hopefully will never experience again. For the first time in your career as a business owner, you’ve been asked to have your company’s bottom line take a back seat. While health and safety have always been top priorities, there has never been a time more important than the present to ensure both your employees and customers are kept safe.
Here are four steps for keeping employees and customers safe:
1. Place footprints at the checkout.
We’ve all been very strongly urged to practice social distancing in an effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19. A major recommendation is that we all keep at least six feet away from each other. This can be difficult for customers who are waiting in line to pay for their goods at your checkout. If you own an essential business, it’s wise to place actual footprint markings on the floor, six feet apart from each other, so customers know exactly where to stand when they’re ready to pay for their purchases.
“Avoid close contact (within six feet) when possible,” insists Dr. Chad Rodgers on TalkBusiness.net, “Plan for spacing out of employees’ workspaces to allow for six feet. Thoughtfully think about how to protect and support those at greater risk from severe disease (older people and those who have weaker immune systems).”
2. Reduce workloads.
Most businesses, throughout Canada, have had to shut their doors to the general public because they are considered non-essential. While it’s vital for your essential business to remain open, it’s still important to consider amending business hours to maximize the safety of your customers and employees. Sarah Kalloch and Zeynep Ton of Harvard Business Review suggest reducing the workload of your staff members.
“Normally, a dusty shelf may not be as important as 100 people lined up at the checkout,” they write, “Right now, it is. So now is the time to reduce workload by rationalizing the product line, limiting shopping hours, and clearly explaining why both to customers (so they don’t bug the employees) and to employees (so they can explain to customers).”
3. Disinfect every surface that gets touched a lot.
While this tip may come across as a no-brainer, it needs to be reiterated so that it’s never forgotten. Keeping clean has never been more important. Be sure to use disinfectant wipes on every surface of your place of business that is regularly touched by customers and employees.
As Rodgers points out, those surfaces include “entry doors and handles, check-out area and cash registers, remote controls, phones, sneeze shields, restrooms, banisters, elevator buttons, tops of display counters and light switches. Pay attention to employee-only areas – lockers, kitchen areas, refrigerators, microwaves, vending machines, bathrooms, faucets, keyboards, time clocks, etc.”
4. Allow for tap payments.
Before the COVID-19 crisis began to cripple the world economy, major credit card companies allowed for cardholders to tap their cards at checkouts in order to pay for purchases that totalled $100 or less. To offer quicker, easier and safer transactions, that limit has been raised to $250 by Visa and Mastercard.
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