Running a physical business, or a brick-and-mortar store, during the pandemic is a challenging task. You lead one of the last businesses allowed to come face-to-face with customers, and so you have a big responsibility to keep your employees and your customers safe. This is not only important for preserving public health, but also for keeping your business afloat.
If one of your employees catches the virus, then your entire team will need to go into quarantine as a result, which is not something you can afford. After all, closing your doors for a couple of weeks can have devastating financial consequences. This is why investing in employee and customer safety during the pandemic is so important – it protects your business but also your fellow human beings. With all of that in mind, here’s what you can do to keep your employees and customers safe throughout the pandemic.
Train and educate your office and in-store staff
Firstly, you can’t hope to effectuate any of your COVID-19 prevention measures if the people in your team don’t know why it’s important and what it takes to keep themselves and others safe. Don’t expect your employees to blindly follow orders just because they work for you, because only by understanding the importance of safety themselves can they become truly invested in this cause.
Remember, as a leader, you are tasked with affecting the mindset of your employees and empowering them to achieve results – you can’t just demand them. To that end, your first order of business is to train your employees and educate them on the pandemic.
You can try to do this yourself, but the best course of action would be to bring in an authority figure from the medical system to give a quick lecture, answer any questions, and train your employees on proper COVID-19 prevention in the workplace.
Adhere to more frequent cleaning
Keeping the store or office space clean and sanitized is more important now than ever before. The fact that the virus can stick to and survive on surfaces for hours and even days means that you need more frequent cleaning. Now, depending on the size of the facility, your staff can handle this task on a daily basis if they are already tasked with cleaning and sanitizing the space.
However, if these are not their primary duties, then you need to invest in professional cleaning staff that has the tools and the expertise necessary to sanitize the space from top to bottom. Make sure that the space is sanitized at least twice a day, in the morning and at the end of the workday.
Use signs and technology to your advantage
To keep your employees and your customers safe in your store(s), you need to constantly remind them of the COVID-19 prevention measures and the new rules of conduct. This is why it’s important to put up signs in your store, but a better option is to use digital displays to showcase important COVID-19 information as well, and tell a story that will engage your customers and your staff.
By using digital signage in your store, you can create information reels and use storytelling to inspire your staff to stick to the prevention measures, and inspire your customers to safeguard their health and the health of their loved ones. What’s more, digital signage is more engaging and it creates a more authoritative brand image, helping you influence your staff and your customers.
Provide masks and sanitizers to staff and customers
When a person forgets to bring a mask or to sanitize their hands, the last thing you want is to turn them away or make them feel bad about it. That’s how you lose customers and alienate employees. What you want to do is to encourage and empower people to do the right thing.
How should you do that, you may ask? Simply by providing your staff and your customers with masks and sanitizers in the store. Make the sanitizers available at the entrance and throughout the store, and give people a mask when they don’t have one. A customer not wearing a mask will gladly accept one and continue shopping, rather than having to leave your store feeling disgruntled.
Appeal to the right values in your customers
Last but not least, always try to appeal to the good in people. Keep in mind, people want to do the right thing, they want to help themselves and others, and you can help them by being supportive and emphasizing the importance of prevention.
Don’t nag, don’t criticize, don’t try to scare them with mortality rates, but instead focus on the things we can achieve together. Aim to trigger an emotional response rather than appealing to their rationale. Make them think about how their contribution means the world those with poor health, the elderly, and their loved ones. This is how you can appeal to the good in people and inspire them to do the right thing.
Keeping your customers and employees safe is a multi-faceted problem that requires good leadership and a few concrete solutions. Be sure to use these tips to create a strong prevention strategy that will ensure your staff and customers stay safe during the pandemic.
About the Author:
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight of the industry based on both practice and theory.