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June 2, 2020

The novel coronavirus changed the world overnight. Now, almost as quickly as things shut down, states are beginning to lift restrictions, and businesses must create health and safety checklists for COVID-19 response. Navigating potential COVID-19 solutions isn’t easy, and the consequences of getting it wrong are far reaching.

Not adequately protecting employees and customers can damage your brand, lead to a lawsuit or insurance premium increases, or ultimately hit revenue hard enough that you go out of business. With stakes this high, you need to feel confident that you have a step-by-step plan to mitigate risk while you get back to business.

While the need for a more comprehensive plan is immediate, getting it right will help your business through the length of the pandemic and help you build a safer business far into the future. With that in mind, what do you need to consider as you formulate a plan to survive and grow as you reopen?

1. Understand COVID-19

You can’t fight what you don’t understand. To create a safer working environment and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread in your stores, it’s important that you have accurate, up-to-date information about:

  • COVID-19 symptoms
  • How the virus spreads
  • Protective measures that are most effective
  • Local and national guidelines and risk levels

Look to reputable sources like the CDC and your state or county health department for the most current information to inform your COVID-19 response.

2. Develop Screening, Safety, and Sanitation Procedures

With information in hand about how the novel coronavirus operates, you can begin to develop updated policies for your stores. You cannot rely on employees to know intuitively how often different surfaces should be sanitized or that delivery personnel will be aware of what precautions they should take.

Expanded digital health and safety checklists are critical to effective COVID-19 solutions, as is providing whatever personal protective equipment is appropriate and needed for employees. Taking proactive steps to build updated procedures builds trust with your employees that you care about their health, which, in turn, instills confidence in customers that you have taken the time to learn and follow best practices.

3. Use the Best Tools for the Job

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever that businesses can no longer rely on paper and pen methodsto gather quality, health, and safety data at every store location. Manual process are slow, they’re more susceptible to human error or “fudging results,” and they can’t provide the fast insights you need to ensure all your standards and policies are being met.

When you look for a digital solution, it should include an easy-to-use app that employees can use on mobile devices that quickly syncs with layered reporting that shows up-to-the-minute data about the health of your store operations.

4. Communicate & Train

Building an expert COVID-19 response is useless without communicating your standards to employees and customers and training employees on new procedures. A single conversation is not enough to educate employees on what they need to do and reinforce that these standards are important and will be enforced.

Reinforcing training takes work and is most effective when you combine multiple modalities, such as visual aids, written and verbal instruction, and video documentation. The more often you reinforce, the better your employees’ retention and observance will be.

5. Empower Management

Some employees and customers may try to push boundaries to become more lax in carrying out these new guidelines. Your managers need to play a proactive role in establishing and enforcing store policies for your COVID-19 response. Make sure they know what their responsibilities are, and that regional and corporate managers will help back them up in establishing a safety culture.

Trying to balance all those different pieces, in addition to everything else you need for reopening, can be overwhelming. So what are your options to create an effective, fact-based plan?

1. Custom

Everyone loves a custom-built solution. You get a perfectly fit coronavirus response plan for your specific business. However, that perfect fit comes with a higher price tag and longer time to implement.

2. Off-the-Shelf

Ready-made digital audit tools are more sophisticated and affordable than ever. You get a solution that can be up and running in a few days, at a price that won’t kill your budget. You can still get industry-specific guidance, while moving quickly to get back to business.

3. Consultant

Consultants can vary in price, but you do get advice tailored to your business’s specific needs. The downside is that you are often still left to implement recommendations on your own.

4. Build Your Own

It’s tempting to take full control over researching and implementing your new procedures. But researching and building your own health and safety checklists can be a big drain on time and resources, which will necessarily continue for maintenance and further development. Plus, homegrown solutions can leave you open to missing critical steps without expert advice.

We know the COVID-19 cognitive overload is real. You and other business owners are struggling with the many new tasks, decisions, and guidelines coming your way. You can take some of that off your plate with RizePoint’s Back-to-Business Bundle. We walk you through everything you need to consider as you build COVID-19 solutions to carry you through reopening and into the future.

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