Re-think Your Business Operations with These 10 Safety Precautions

The last few months have been a whirlwind of change for almost everyone on the planet. The outbreak of COVID-19 has shut down huge segments of the economy in countries around the world, and most businesses have dealt with significant alterations to their operations. As businesses, economies, and other organizations prepare to open up in the coming weeks and months, it seems likely that things won’t be going back to “normal.”

Although many aspects of society will inevitably remain the same, some basic standards and practices are going to change. As businesses grapple with these changes, it’s important that they maintain high levels of safety in accordance with public health guidelines while at the same time aiming for their prior efficiency. This balancing act will be a challenge.

At Weave, our goal is to help businesses get back to their former levels of production as they’re implementing the new guidelines for healthy practices. Our Back to Business initiative is geared toward combining insightful content with a powerful communication system to ensure small and medium-sized businesses have the education and tools to succeed in a world altered by coronavirus.

 

We believe that the businesses who understand healthy practices and take advantage of the technological tools at their disposal have the best shot at flourishing as the economy opens up again. A sound understanding of the current situation combined with a responsive communication network lets your team focus on its customers instead of the problems presented by the pandemic and its aftermath.

Good communication has never been more important to businesses. Neither has following the parameters set forth by public health experts. This blog post is a list of precautions that includes basic safety tips and advanced communication protocols.

Your business will need to adhere to both in order to succeed in the new normal.

1.Adapt to new government regulations

As a result of COVID-19, governments at the federal, state, and local levels have applied new public health regulations to help reduce the potential for infection in the general population. Many of these regulations have led to the temporary closure of non-essential services. For those businesses that have remained open throughout the pandemic, their routines and functions have changed in meaningful ways.

Continuing to abide by rules and regulations set forth by governmental organizations will be crucial for running a successful business in the coming months. It’s not only governments that care about how your business conforms to new standards and laws; customers have a heightened awareness of how businesses are operating under new guidelines. Pay close attention to the regulations in your area and demonstrate to customers your willingness to abide by the law.

2.Provide a sanitary setting

Customers’ concern about hygiene and germs have never been higher. Knowing and following new public health requirements like social distancing and limited occupancy is one step toward alleviating these concerns. Keeping a clean office environment and giving customers the supplies they need to feel safe is another way to improve your operations.

Encourage your janitorial staff to be extra vigilant about keeping surfaces clean in the office, especially commonly touched areas like handles, tabletops, railings, and chairs. If you have the financial means, stay well-stocked with wipes and sanitizer, and make it readily available to customers. Try to have some face masks, shields, and gloves available as well, especially if you live in an area where these items are required.

3.Screen customers for symptoms

The economy may slowly be reopening, but that doesn’t mean coronavirus has disappeared. It’s important that your business screen customers for symptoms before they show up to your office for an appointment. This screening can be done with a simple wellness form that asks clients about their health, their exposure to sick individuals, and recent travel.

These wellness forms are particularly effective if they’re distributed to customers by text. Calling and interviewing each customer isn’t practical, emails often go unread, and having customers fill out forms in your office doesn’t help with containment. Establishing two-way business texting is the best way to share and collect wellness forms.

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Curbside Texting

4.Establish curbside waiting rooms

If you’re not familiar with the concept of curbside waiting rooms, they’re a practice that’s really taken off as stay-at-home and lockdown measures have been enacted around the world. The idea behind these virtual waiting rooms is to keep customers out of your office until you and your staff are absolutely ready to receive them. Essentially, eliminating the waiting room from your business decreases the likelihood of customers sharing germs with each other and with your staff.

Without the proper lines of communication, curbside waiting rooms are either impossible or ineffective. Along with wellness forms, your business should be inviting its customers to call or text your office upon their arrival for an appointment. Customers can then wait in the parking lot and come back for their appointment once your staff lets them know they’re ready to see them.

5. Change your office hours

Over the last couple of months, the vast majority of small businesses have been forced to either adjust their hours of operation or close their doors entirely. With some states and countries beginning to loosen the restrictions they imposed in response to COVID-19, businesses will be returning to their previous hours or changing their schedule yet again. It’s crucial that you let your customers know your hours of operation going forward.

Sending customers a text or email is one way of letting them know your new hours. You or your administrative staff should also update your website and profile on social media sites like Google and Facebook to ensure that potential customers know your hours. Establishing your new hours will help customers get in and out of your office in an orderly fashion while returning to your previous levels of productivity.

6.Set up remote payments

A safety precaution that some businesses haven’t considered is giving customers a remote payment option. Adding remote payments not only increases revenue for businesses, but it also protects workers and customers from problematic exchanges resulting from payments. One of the simplest ways for customers to pay remotely is by text.

By collecting payments via text, your business gets around the contamination that occurs from handling cash, checks, and cards. Instead of having customers hang out around the front desk after appointments, your team can send them a text with a link for electronic payment. As long as you have the right banking or credit card information on file, remote payments keep customers safe away from improper social distancing by letting them pay from anywhere.

Text to pay

7.Update your voicemail and phone tree

As an extension of changing your office hours, be sure to update both your voicemail and phone tree with your new hours as well as any essential messaging about health and safety practices. Updating these lines of communication is critical for keeping customers informed and can be greatly simplified by using a unified communication system like Weave.

8.Use appointment reminders

We previously mentioned that although phone calls and emails often go unanswered and unread, text messages have a shockingly high open-rate. Sending customers appointment reminders by text is a practice that many businesses have adopted to increase customer attendance at appointments.

In the wake of coronavirus, appointment reminders are an effective way to let customers know about upcoming appointments they may have forgotten about while quarantined. Reminders are also an appropriate method for keeping customers in the loop about your business’s safety precautions. It’s better to text clients beforehand about the adjustments you’ve made to health regulations than to have them show up at your office without a clue.

9.Define changes to management

Some businesses have endured structural changes due to shortened office hours or temporary closure. Getting the word out to customers will help them adjust to these changes as you get back to business. Again, a unified system of communication makes it much easier to disperse this information to customers without having to sacrifice social distancing measures.

10.Implement a team chat

Although some regulations are going to be loosened in the near future, it might still be preferable for some of your employees to work remotely or from home. If another outbreak occurs, it’s crucial that you and your team have the means to communicate from your respective quarantines. Implementing a team chat that’s usable from both desktops and smartphones can drastically improve your office’s communication and productivity while also protecting you from the threat of contamination.

We hope this list of guidelines helps your business get back to work in a safe and productive manner. Following the recommendations and regulations put forth by public and private organizations will aid your office in returning to its former hours. At the same time, we believe that installing a unified communication system in your office can significantly impact the level of safety you’re offering both your customers and employees.

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