As a Texas business owner, you’re treading unknown waters when it comes to the “standard” protocol for reopening a business during a national pandemic. SOGO is here to help you practice safe ways to reopen your business while maintaining the safety guidelines that protect your employees and your patrons.
Meet with your HR
First and foremost, we suggest you set up a recurring meeting with your HR team to set and cover clear and discernable policies and guidelines for reopening your business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chances are you’ve met and discussed how to handle employees and internal issues, but now’s the time to focus on business strategy as well. Having the expertise of your HR team will help you sort through what’s going to work and what won’t in terms of safety practices, operating capacities, laws, and other government information you’re now having to take into account.
Accommodate Safety Needs
If your team has been working remotely like thousands of Texans have, they’re probably expecting certain changes around the office to accommodate safety needs, including having cubicles or desks spaced apart, having a “no-contact” rule (no handshakes, hugging, or even fist-bumps) and having endless supply to antibacterial soap, sanitizer, and other germ-killing substances. Be proactive and rearrange the office so that your employees don’t feel uncomfortable asking for basic conveniences. We know there are things you can’t do, like give everyone access to a printer, and other shared items, so in those cases, place hand sanitizer nearby, and plenty of disinfecting wipes for quick clean-ups that will instill confidence in your employees.
Hold Training for Employees
As silly as it may seem, you may want to hold a safely-distanced (or online) “welcome back” training for your employees, to review the new guidelines and refresh on common courtesies. Chances are, you’ve had some vendors calling while your business has been in quarantine mode, which may mean you’ve got a long list of (sometimes impatient) people anxiously awaiting a reply from your business. It’s a good idea for everyone to get on the same page, in terms of communication and sharing “new” policies, like adjusted hours of operation, standard return time on invoices, emails, and other forms of communication, and even grace periods on accounts receivable if your business plan allows for that. Customers will appreciate the time you’ve taken to train your employees on some basic customer service items with a COVID-19 twist.
It never hurts to be open and honest, with both your employees and customers alike. Everyone is navigating new territory, so if policies have changed, be transparent and vocal about those. Visually post any changes around the office, and communicate openly with your customers on your website, and maybe even in your corporate email signature. Remember that employees, vendors, customers, and any human beings you come into contact with are having to deal with COVID-19 in some capacity, so stress is running high. Be patient with employees that need flexible hours or that are in compromised states. Go easy on customers that may be a little bit on edge. Even though you’re probably under a tremendous amount of stress as a business owner, remember that being honest about any corporate issues or concerns, even if it means you have to say, “I’m not sure about that – let me get back to you,” your employees and customers will appreciate your candidness.
In case you missed it: “Why Choosing An Independent Insurance Agent Works In Your Favor” lists the reasons you need to stick with SOGO when it comes to your insurance needs. As an independent agency, we don’t have to look out for anyone but our client, and that’s what we do best. As if you didn’t know it already, SOGO specializes in customer services and providing our clients with a best-in-class experience in providing personal and business insurance. Call our agents to discuss your needs today.