Getting Your Business Ready To Reopen After COVID-19
The past year has been a long and difficult time for businesses, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
As vaccinations gather momentum and rates start to drop, businesses can start to focus on reopening again. But after a long period of closure, restricted working or even home working, you’re going to have your work cut out for you to get your business ready to open again.
From managing your employees to making your workplace safe, as well as promoting your business to the outside world, there are a lot of steps involved in reopening your business. Take a look at the following tips to get your business ready to reopen after COVID-19.
Review your safety policies and procedures
While businesses are beginning to open their doors again, it’s not something to rush into. You’ll need to make sure your business can operate safely to keep customers and employees safe and to limit the spread of infection.
You can start by researching the different guidance that’s out there for business owners, including the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. You might need to invest in new fixtures, new signage, employee training, and more to get your business ready. These changes may only be temporary, but it will be worth it to be able to reopen. Make health and safety a priority to ensure your business can remain open for the long haul.
Work to a timeline
Reopening your business isn’t something you’re going to be able to do overnight. You should aim to work backward from the date you intend to open so that you can make sure everything is in place in enough time. You might also want to consider a gradual opening with fewer staff to help everyone get used to working in these new times.
Spend time working on all of the steps that need taking to be able to get your business open. This will give everyone enough notice and to feel prepared. Think of it as a brand-new launch for your business, giving you the opportunity to try new things and hopefully attract new people to your business, as well as your existing customers and clients.
Liaise with your employees
Employees are likely to have mixed feelings about returning to work. You should discuss your reopening with them and let them know what’s expected of them. You should also speak to each individual employee about their circumstances to ensure they’re happy to return. Some employees might have difficulties due to caring and childcare responsibilities, which is something to consider.
Employees will also need the training to ensure that they understand new working practices and are knowledgeable about how to work safely. Now is also a great time to introduce new policies and procedures when it comes to absences so that everyone feels informed about their rights when they return.
If your business has to open with limited capacity, you’ll need to consider how many of your employees will be able to return. This could involve providing shorter shifts to staff, or keeping some off work for the time being. A discussion with your employees will help you assess their preferences, and it’s important that you communicate these decisions clearly. It’s important to check in with your employees regularly after reopening to ensure they’re happy with the way things are going and to pay attention to their wellbeing too.
Introduce flexible working if possible
Many businesses have survived this difficult period by introducing flexible working. Being able to have employees work from home has meant things can continue to get done, while also providing flexibility to employees, and even helping them experience a better work/life balance.
Homeworking has been a surprising success for many businesses, with many businesses looking at ways they can make homeworking a more permanent situation for their employees. The future of remote working is something to be considered and could lead to some permanent changes for your own business.
Not all businesses can allow for home or flexible working, but you can focus on creating a better work/life balance for employees. Could more paid leave be on the cards to help your employees find a better balance? With simple tools for how to calculate PTO accrual in addition to online scheduling systems, it can be easy for your employees to take the time they’re owed. Every business is different, but you’ve got a great opportunity here to implement some worthwhile changes that will benefit both your employees, and your business.
Let your customers know that you’re back in business
Once you’ve got the behind-the-scenes details covered, you’re ready to inform your customers about your reopening. This is where your social media channels and website will come in handy. You should outline when and how you’ll be reopening, with any changes to your regular business being highlighted. If you have a mailing list or provide text communications, these could also help reach your customers. Keep your messages consistent and clear, and provide opportunities for customers to ask questions.
Reinforce the message so that everyone has your reopening date on their minds.
Promote your business to new customers
As well as reaching out to your existing customers, relaunching after COVID-19 gives you the chance to connect with new customers too. Find new and exciting ways of promoting your business online, and consider teaming up with other businesses in your community to benefit from each other’s customer base.
Reopening with a can’t-miss promotion can also be a great way of attracting new customers. A discount on your services could be a good way to tempt customers in, letting them experience everything you have to offer.
Monitor the ongoing situation
While the current situation is beginning to look more positive, we are still living in an unpredictable time. With no idea what the future holds, your business needs to prepare for different eventualities. If you had to close again, are there things you could do to generate business in other ways, such as online? How could you minimize your costs to lessen the damage? These are all factors that need to be considered as you make plans to reopen.
There have been lessons learned for many businesses as a result of the pandemic. What are your takeaways? Understanding the areas you could’ve improved or things that you could do better will help you be prepared for the future, no matter what happens. COVID-19 has changed the business landscape permanently, and being better prepared for these types of situations will help future-proof your business.
Pay it forward
It’s great to be in a position to reopen your business, but there are others out there who will continue to suffer as a result of the pandemic. When your business is in a more secure position, consider paying it forward to help others who might be struggling. This could involve helping those in your local community, supporting smaller businesses and suppliers, and even supporting initiatives to help those who have been left out of work as a result of the pandemic.
Get some ideas on how your business can pay it forward and make sure your business gives back.
Businesses have been through a challenging time over the past year, but things are looking on the up. With a solid plan in place to help your business reopen successfully, you can work towards finding a new normal for your business and its employees, ready for a brighter future.