The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses all over the world to close their physical locations completely for an extended time. Now things are on an upward slope. Cases are dropping and lockdowns are lifting in many places.
But after such a long time, with so much change, how will you regain your footing in the marketplace?
Consider this post a quick 3-step guide for reopening business after lockdown.
1. Re-introduce Employees to the Workplace
Although stores are reopening and life is returning to a semblance of normalcy, things will differ from before the lockdowns. Health guidelines are still in place, which means your store will need to implement some new practices to keep your employees and customers safe.
Follow Health Guidelines
Keep up to date on your area’s current health guidelines. They may require a lower capacity in your store, so you might not need as many employees on-site as you typically would.
Just about everywhere, the number one rule is that nobody should enter the store if they’re sick or displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
This especially includes your employees. Make sure they come in to work healthy no matter what, even if it means they miss a shift and leave you short-handed. You can put up a checklist of symptoms for your employees to see when they clock in.
The priority is to keep everyone safe within your business.
Plan for Flexibility
Since self-isolation upon exposure to COVID-19 is a requirement in most places, planning ahead is crucial. Have backups for every shift prepared, just in case one or more of your employees have to self-isolate.
2. Maintain Trust & Keep Customers Safe
Today, people are more nervous than usual, and they’re looking for stability. You can set yourself up for success by showing customers that your business is a safe place to be. Build a trust that will last long after the pandemic ends.
Social distancing is a safety measure that requires no complicated set up and is easy to enforce. Most people are used to it after the past 10 months or more. Even so, it won’t hurt to set up floor markers 6 feet apart around your business and set up signs.
Have your employees disinfect surfaces regularly. Keep both your customers and your employees safe. This can boost your reputation as a conscientious, thoughtful business.
There are many things you can do besides sanitization and social distancing signs. The law rarely requires these, but they can absolutely help. Here are some suggestions.
- Clear splash screens (at tills and counters)
- Directional aisle arrows
- Mask dispensers
- Sanitization stations
- Extra self-checkout lanes
3. Keep What Worked
The lockdowns have forced most of us to innovate in order to keep our businesses afloat. From working remotely to selling products online, there are many brilliant solutions that have worked well. A lot of these solutions can actually enhance your business once things are all back to normal.
In-store pickup saves the customer time by allowing them to do all their shopping online and simply come to the store to pick it up.
Many businesses have employed this service with an overwhelmingly positive response from customers. While it will become an option rather than a necessity in the future, many customers will choose it regardless because of its convenience.
Why get rid of it once things are back to normal? As the old adage says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Similar to in-store pickup, delivery makes shopping far simpler by cutting out all the driving and searching and walking. Everything’s available at a single button-press, making it an extremely appealing service.
Offering delivery can give your business the edge over your competition. Why choose a long shopping trip over a 10-minute online session? Your business will become the obvious choice.
Many employers have seen amazing results from their employees after implementing work-from-home. It saves on gas, space, and resources. It can even lead to better productivity.
If there are jobs within your business that can be done remotely, consider keeping them remote when people are coming back to work and things are back to normal.
You could implement a split between remote and in-person work.
A cloud phone system can make this a breeze. With mobile integration, employees can use their cell phone in place of an office phone, and CRM integration allows you to pull up information on any returning caller instantly.
And since there’s no hardware setup required, your employees can smoothly shift from remote to in-person work – and vice versa – literally overnight.
Tools like cloud phone enable your remote and in-person teams to work in perfect harmony.
Don’t box yourself into traditional business practices. Break the mold, and you might discover something new.
Other Virtual Endeavors
If you began any new virtual initiatives during the pandemic and lockdown – such as an online service or new digital product – keep it going, even when lockdown ends.
For example, you may have started an online store since people couldn’t come in to shop – or you created paid masterclasses for customers interested in your particular niche. If such endeavors had any success, keep it up! It can be a stable source of income and new business.
Reopen Your Business After Lockdown
Once things are back to normal, you can take what you gained from this pandemic and use them to the advantage and growth of your business.
This pandemic has not been an enjoyable experience, but there can be much to learn and take from it. It forced us to adapt and grow, and we can keep that process of innovation going forever if we choose to.
SelectCom offers many services to help you transition for reopening your business after lockdown. Cloud phone systems, audio and video conferencing, and more are ideal for remote work and cutting costs. Contact an associate to get set up today.