COVID-19 has caused a never-seen global response, so it’s difficult to know what your shop should do. You want to make sure your employees and customers are safe, but you also want to keep your shop open. How do you balance these things? Below are four questions with possible solutions to help you think about how to manage the coronavirus crisis in your shop.
One of the big things to prevent spreading the coronavirus is considering which things are touched most often by many people. Common examples are doorknobs and counters. If your shop uses an ERP system and has one or two computers on the shop floor, those computers are touched by everyone. Another example is the time clock that employees use to clock in and out. Everyone touches them. Once you’ve identified these things in your shop, you need to sanitize and limit contact with them as much as possible.
Sanitizing doorknobs and counters is simple. All you need is anti-bacterial wipes or cleaning supplies and you’re good to go. Computers and time clocks can be a bit more complicated, especially because you can’t get them wet. Here’s where an ERP system can be the solution. If your ERP system has mobile apps, then employees can use their phones instead of the shared office computer. This limits the number of people touching the same device.
Some apps will let employees update inventory in real-time. It can keep your shop up-to-date and greatly cut down on the number of people using the office computer. It limits the spread of germs if people are using their personal phones.
The best way to stop spreading the coronavirus is to avoid contact with other people that could be sick. For some employees in a shop, this isn’t possible. If they don’t come in, they can’t do their jobs. However, for office employees, they may be able to work remotely. If your ERP system is on the cloud, it’s easy for your office employees to log in on a web browser. All they need is an internet connection and they can get to work. Your office employees may also have the option to remote into their work computers, but using the cloud is a much simpler way to work from home.
Your shop floor may meet OSHA requirements, but with the coronavirus, there are different ways to keep your employees safe and healthy. If you have a larger shop, you could stagger start times to every 10 minutes so there aren’t as many people entering the building at once. It’s recommended that people stay six feet apart, but it can be hard to remember that when you’re working. To help employees stay separated, you could put up partitions or use tape as guidelines on the floor. It just needs to be something that stops employees from standing too close together.
You could also have the shop cleaned and sanitized more often. Many companies are having their offices cleaned twice a day. It helps if each employee does their part and frequently washes their hands for 20 seconds. Lastly, putting bottles of sanitizer around the shop floor will help as well. These are all small things, but they can have a great impact on stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
Do your shop’s customers and employees know how your shop is planning to handle this crisis? Uncertainty makes people worry, so make sure that your shop’s employees and customers know what your shop’s plans are. Even a quick note to customers can put their minds at rest. Employees also may be worried that your shop might close and they’ll lose their paycheck. Let them know what your shop is going to do in the near future and what your goals are. This will stop rumors and worry.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, your shop might also be changing how it does things. For example, your sales team isn’t traveling to make sales right now. What are they doing instead? Are they postponing all visits? Are they doing video calls? Make sure your sales team and customers know what to expect. Are you having some of your employees work from home? If they haven’t worked from home before, there could be hiccups. Make sure your customers know about that. It’s much easier to tell customers ahead of time what your plan is and ask for patience than it is to tell them after things have gone wrong.
This is new to everyone, and shops have to be creative in their approach. Most shops are staying open, which means they have to make some changes. Keeping everyone safe while keeping your shop productive in these times is difficult, but with some creativity and understanding, it’s possible. Keep working hard, communicating, and remember to wash your hands.
Stay on top of industry trends and insights.
Subscribe to the Big Ideas for SMBs blog.