Much of the East Coast is reopening following the COVID-19 outbreak that put so many businesses on pause this spring. As we enter the coronavirus transition period, a lot of small businesses are wondering how to return to work using best practices while caring for their workers.
We put together this guide for small businesses that feel uneasy about returning after coronavirus. We want to answer your most pressing questions during this challenging time.
Many businesses either shut down for several months or implemented work-from-home policies starting in March. Since then, no one has used your office regularly, so you can anticipate it will need deep cleaning. Here are a few things to pay particular attention to:
You can use bleach diluted with water for disinfection, but make sure you do not mix the bleach with other disinfectants, as that could produce dangerous fumes. Be sure to use gloves when you clean.
Which surfaces should you clean? Everything that people touch. You will need to continue this deep cleaning as your staff returns to work, so you should make a list of places you clean to remain consistent. Get every light switch, telephone and doorknob, and clean your computers as well. You can find specialty computer products or make a solution with water and alcohol to disinfect keyboards —just dip a Q-tip in the solution and gently wipe each key.
Bathrooms and kitchens require particular attention. Again, focus on shared surfaces and high-touch areas, such as the handle on the refrigerator or microwave.
When you haven’t been in the office in days, you may face usage issues. Boot up your computers to ensure they are functional and have a chance to update. Be cautious with outlets. Test them to ensure they continue to function correctly.
Check on your building’s water system. Since you have been gone for a while, you want to make sure the system is still in operation before you open for business. Run water for a minute or two to check that faucets remain in working order. Flush the toilets as well.
Returning to work will require long-term vigilance with your cleaning and disinfecting to ensure your employees remain safe. Read up on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for reopening to determine other measures you may need to implement. You should also discuss screening employees for infection and ways to keep your vulnerable populations of workers safe. You will revisit your plan frequently over the next few months.
Returning to work presents challenges for businesses and their employees. If you have questions about how to proceed, try URI business continuity services. We can direct you to resources that will help you return to regular work quickly and efficiently. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.