The coronavirus outbreak has a jarring impact on the economy. While large businesses are fairly equipped with the strategies and infrastructure to adjust to the rapid shift in the business environment and consumer behaviour, small businesses find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to adapt new market requirements and yet must cut the cost to drive profitability.
Post-Covid-19 lockdown, as the businesses have begun to reopen, the major challenges small businesses face are to continue operations while following Covid-19 related compliances. The problem is coronavirus related health directives are still evolving and based on that compliance requirements are being changed too. Besides, most of the employees are reluctant to join back the office in the fear of getting infected. And therefore, it is the responsibility of the business leaders to assure them of a Covid-safe workplace and develop compliance reports for reference purposes.
Five strategies to boost Covid-19-safe workplace compliances
Coronavirus outbreak has affected the economic activities across the countries. The worst part of the pandemic is even in the span of six months, there is little conclusive information available about the spread of the virus and control mechanism. As a result, people are divided over the measures taken to curb the transmission of the Covid-19, which ultimately increase the challenges for small business leaders to manage workplace safety and compliances.
Here are the 5 key strategies for small business leaders that would help them reopen their business with confidence and continue operations following workplace safety compliance.
1. Ensure Contactless Check-in and Check-out
Although there are still some facts left to be known about all the possibilities of Covid-19 transmission from one person to another, it has been proven that touching the frequently-used surfaces could increase the chances of infection transmission. However, in a modern workplace, there are several touch-points, essential to carry out the regular operations, and the first begins with attendance systems, the data related to which is collected through biometrics machines.
At this point, companies must ensure contactless check-in and check-out systems to prevent employees from touching surfaces. It could be done by automating the process of hour-tracking and integration of the tool to the attendance system.
This should be applied to all visitors as well. Anyone, either clients or the person from your network who enter the premises must be checked to ensure that they don’t have Covid symptoms and also, they are properly using personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks.
2. Use of Employee Self-Screening Tools
Leveraging digital tools, small business owners can enable the employees to screen their physical health on the parameters of body temperature and other cold and flu symptoms. All the data collected from the tool must be recorded to a centralised data system and the respective managers of the team must be alerted in case of any potential threats. Daily self-assessment could help employees and employers identify the red flags earlier essential to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection.
If you have a field service team that frequently visit the Covid hotspots, then you must ensure that they are frequently assessed and provided with regular training on how to prevent themselves from the infection in the crisis situation. Besides, a regular survey could be done to ensure that employees feel safe in the office environment.
3. Staggered Scheduling
Enabling staggered scheduling is helpful in preventing group gatherings. Small business owners must create a list of all the check-points, starting from the entry at the building gate from the beginning of the office hours to exit points during the closing hours, including the use of elevators, coffee and water-drinking places, parking areas, and so on.
Based on the checklist and employees, teams must be allocated a particular time slot to enter and leave the premises, use the elevator and parking areas, and other facilities in the office. and They also must track every employee activity within the office premises and budge the employees if they are not following social distancing norms. Every employee must be allotted a time slot to visit the frequently-used areas so that any kind of crowd formation could be avoided.
4. Establish Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
Frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces are one of the recommended health directives. In order to reopen the business and manage the operations confidently, small business owners must establish cleaning and disinfecting protocols to ensure end-to-end hygiene. These protocols should include:
- Practice washing of hands for at least 20 seconds
- Wear disposable gloves, face masks, and aprons to protect personal clothing while cleaning and disinfecting
- Clean surfaces such as tables, windows, floors, and other high-touch surfaces periodically
- Record and track every cleaning and disinfection activity for analysis purposes
Properly following the protocol will help business leaders to increase employee confidence so that the stress of getting infected could be reduced.
5. Inspection and Generate Compliance Reports
Where small businesses already struggle to manage various compliances related to tax and employee wages, this seems to be an added burden. But little could be done at this point of time as coronavirus pandemic is showing no sign of taking a break and that makes following the compliances and creating a record of it becomes all more important. Business owners can leverage digital tools to keep a record of all the inspection performed and the outcome of the inspection. Tracking, monitoring, and recording of the activities are when performed using digital tools, it speeds up the process of report generation.
No one has imagined that even such time would come that a lockdown has to be imposed on the people to protect them from a vicious infection. These are uncertain times with unprecedented challenges, where although we have to take care of the health simultaneously continue the economic activity as well.
It is the responsibility of the business leaders to provide a safe working environment to their employees, which could be done by following the compliances effectively. Taking the help of digital tools could reduce the increased pressure of compliance management while making the process streamlined and error-free.
Bhupendra Choudhary, Business Head, FieldCircle