What do you do if you can't work remotely?
For some careers there is no other option but to show up. So how can you navigate these challenging times?
Five tips for business owners who can’t work from home
If you work in retail, hospitality, health services or construction trades, there is no other option but to show up at your work site. So how can you navigate these challenging times?
1. Ask sick customers to stay away
Beauty Therapist Mel Marshall from Beauty by Mel says the worst thing is customers who come in for a facial because they’re off work sick.
Mel says, “I’m a sole trader. If I get sick, that’s it for me.”
Clearly communicate to customers and clients that you are practicing social distancing and if they are experiencing symptoms, to please avoid coming in for the time being.
2. Negotiate with your landlords
The retail landscape is a ghost town at the moment so while some retailers are staying open, others are shutting up shop and focusing on online sales.
This places many business owners in a tricky situation when it comes to paying rent. There are some extenuating circumstances for retailers who are struggling. Here’s a handy guide that specifically relates to COVID-19.
3. Go overboard on the cleaning
If you absolutely must work on-site, the best thing to do is go overboard on hand washing and hygiene, implement additional cleaning and ‘deep cleaning’ in places where COVID-19 has been detected.
Make sure you have plenty of hand soap and paper towels, use disinfectant cleaning products and you may even want to start doing temperature checks on people entering the building.
The EPA has created a list of disinfectants that are effective at killing SARS-CoV-2, which you can find here. It is worth noting that normal soap works just as well because the virus has a on oily membrane that soap destroys.
Pay special attention to any surface customers touch, like light switches and doors, and any system that circulates air. Provide antibacterial gloves for your team, especially if they’re handling cash, or go cashless during this time.
Offer masks to staff and customers. This will protect others if the wearer is a ‘silent’ carrier. Any kind of mask will do because the COVID-19 virus cells are large and therefore contained by any type of fabric.
4. Ramp up delivery services or find a way to offer your service or product with appropriate social distancing
If you’re in the hospitality business, there is a very real possibility you’re going to have to shut down your cafe or restaurant floor. This doesn’t mean you have to cease operations - look at other delivery methods that reduce social contact.
Canlis, a fine-dining restaurant in Seattle has close its restaurant and opened a pop-up burger drive-through in its parking lot.
You can also offer family packs where you prepare pick-up or delivery versions of bulk dishes like soups, casseroles, lasagnes and curries - anything that travels and stores well.
5. Communicate via email and in-store
If you are able to stay open and welcome customers and clients, make sure you tell people. Some customers will assume that you’re closed. If you’re opening for reduced hours or you’ve changed your operations, let people know. If your products are available to purchase online or by delivery, make sure you tell everyone.
In-store, clearly state your policies regarding social distancing, additional hygiene and cleaning measures and any changes to normal operations.
If you’re operating a venue that runs on a booking service, offer customers the chance to postpone or receive a voucher rather than cancel.
Above all, maintain a sense of positivity, inclusivity and community spirit. The way your business handles adversity can become a powerful brand building tool that generates loyalty and respect.
Take good care of yourself. It can be easy to focus on the health and safety of your customers, clients and staff members but remember that your business needs YOU. If you are unwell, or simply not coping, ask for help.
Click here for support services that are available to your business at this time.
“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” - Malcolm X