While the growing coronavirus outbreak has created economic worries, small business owners have felt its negative effect with canceled bookings and anxious consumers. When considering the health of your staff and customers, working in a small office is safer compared to a crowded workplace. There are fewer people at a time than in large businesses, allowing you to quickly notice anyone who shows symptoms.
We are not yet clear about what and how long this pandemic’s impact will have on an individual’s health and the global economy. We all desire it to end as soon as possible, without costing us a lot in human health and commercially. If you are a small business owner, here’s what you can do to lessen the impact of this pandemic.
Even if many large enterprises are allowing their employees to work from home, being a small business, it may not work for you. You can communicate with your customers over the phone or even try video conferencing services or live-streaming. At the office, move desks around to create space between each for easy movement. Also, make sure to keep your workplace clean and hygienic by regularly wiping surfaces and objects with disinfectant.
If you need to travel, make sure that you have the latest information about hotspot areas where most people are infected with the coronavirus. Even if you are traveling locally, only make the trip for critical reasons such as meeting your suppliers to restock your inventory or negotiate business relationships. It is recommended to wash your hands regularly with alcohol-based hand rub and stay at least 1 m away from people who are coughing or sneezing.
If your staff are anxious about the coronavirus, understand their concerns, and be open to any suggestions. In these times of crisis, it is important to come together and show that you care about their wellbeing. Don’t make your employees to attend large gatherings or to travel. If the meeting or event is needed, look whether it can be replaced with teleconference or online event. And, if your staff gets sick, you need to call the health care provider or tell your employee to consult with their doctor and stay at home to self-isolate.
Most big businesses have insurance that covers losses in case of an event that interrupts their operations. However, there is a little chance that small businesses such as hairdressers and restaurants have such insurance. You can still talk with your insurance provider about whether your business is covered for this unforeseen event and ask what qualifies for coverage. If you are not covered for this emergency, this might help you be prepared for the next time your business goes through similar financial loss.
You don’t want your employees to be sick and come to work, but if they might hide their ailment if they fear of losing the job. Most small businesses provide paid sick leave, but it is the lowest-paid workers, such as delivery persons and child and elder care, who are often uncovered. To curb the outbreak and flatten the curve, allow your sick employees to stay home while also ensuring that they get paid.
Most importantly, don’t panic. Although it is easy to be frightened, by staying informed and taking necessary precautions we can get through this together. For any new information, keep an eye out on CDC, your local government, and the local health department. Also, communicate with your employees regularly and keep your customers updated about the situation.