America is Reopening — Is Your Organization Prepared?
Slowly, but surely, businesses across the United States are reopening — is your organization prepared?
While reopening plans may vary by state and industry, one thing is for sure, the reopening of the United States is here, and it is critical for your organization to have a plan in place now for safe and effective operations during COVID-19.
One of the first steps that organizations can take now to ensure they are ready for reopening is to develop a plan. Creating and implementing a plan now will greatly influence your business’s ability to thrive today and in the foreseeable future.
As the health and safety of employees and customers remains the primary concern, businesses should first prioritize their plan to include important safety measures.
According to the CDC, this would include steps such as:
- Deciding when to open
There are a number of factors that businesses should consider before reopening. For instance, will the reopening be consistent with state guidelines? Are recommended health and safety actions in place, such as: encouraging social distancing, promoting handwashing, wearing face coverings, implementing strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and a training plan in place for employees on these new protocols? Are ongoing monitoring procedures in place? For instance, procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees daily upon arrival? Is there a plan in place if an employee gets sick?
- Developing an ongoing mitigation strategy
It is essential for businesses to do their part to prevent and slow the spread within the workplace. This includes protocols to prevent and reduce transmission among employees and continued effort to monitor federal, state and local public health communications and the ability to quickly adapt and make adjustments as necessary.
- Establishing prevention and support policies
Businesses planning to reopen should consider implementing workplace controls. According to OSHA, these would include things such as: increasing ventilation rates in the work environment, installing physical barriers, establishing policies that promote alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time, discontinuing nonessential travel, etc.
In addition to laying the groundwork for critical health and safety measures, businesses who want to thrive are also evaluating and adapting other aspects of their business. According to a recent Forbes article, leading organizations should also be focusing on these key areas:
- Staying in touch with clients
Top organizations understand that staying in touch with their customers is crucial. For instance, if you operate a chain of restaurants limited to take out orders, consider asking for customer email addresses so you can communicate reopening.
- Keeping in contact with suppliers
If your organization is reliant on key suppliers, ensure that you have ongoing communication with your suppliers. Ongoing communication will help you determine whether or not your suppliers are prepared to provide your company with what it needs, or if your suppliers may run into shortages that would require your organization to find a work around.
- Preparing for new hires or rehires
Evaluate your organizations plan for rehires or new hires, and develop and implement modifications to the interviewing and onboarding process. For example, does your organization have a defined process for who you will rehire and how you plan to reach out? Do you have plans and protocols in place for new hire recruitment, interviewing, and onboarding that complies with important safety and legal regulations? Can your onboarding processes and technology scale to your hiring needs? Does your business have the capability to efficiently adapt to remote onboarding, if needed?
The current global climate has created a number of new challenges, especially for businesses looking to reopen. The truth of the matter is the reopening of the United States is here, and it is critical for your organization to create and implement a plan now, to not only facilitate a safe and stable return, but also greatly influence your organization’s ability to succeed today and into the future.
Below are several recommended websites to access the most current and accurate information regarding COVID-19:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration website: www.osha.gov
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: www.cdc.gov
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health website: www.cdc.gov/niosh
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