Businesses across the country are slowly but surely starting to reopen as coronavirus numbers drop. While a downward trend is promising news for the future of America’s small business economy, it won’t be business as usual. Many small business owners will have to follow social distancing tips in order to comply with local and state COVID-19 guidelines.
For businesses that have remained open or partly operational with stimulus funding, this might mean making only a few simple changes. For others that have been closed throughout the pandemic, it might mean rethinking business entirely. Your industry—along with the way you normally interact with customers—may also play a role in how you adapt.
By implementing these social distancing tips in your business, you can keep customers and employees safe.
The Importance of Following Local & State COVID-19 Health Guidelines
After months of waiting for the government’s go-ahead, it’s understandable for you to be eager to reopen your small business. As you make arrangements to reopen, though, be sure to keep employees’ and customers’ safety top of mind.
Cutting corners on safety precautions might lower costs or help you reopen faster, but could also backfire. If a customer or employee gets sick, your business may have to close again. Failing to abide by regulations could also lead to your business being reported, fined, or even shut down.
As you make plans to reopen, be sure to research state, local, and industry regulations. Then, take a step further by researching other measures that can help you protect your business even more.
8 Easy-to-Implement Social Distancing Tips For Businesses
These social distancing tips for businesses can help you get on the right track for a safe, comfortable reopening.
1. Continue Working Remotely And Offering Delivery/Curbside Pickup
COVID-19 numbers have dropped, but not to zero—in fact, cases in some states have actually spiked. The best social distancing tip for small businesses is simple: if you can, continue operating remotely and/or offering contactless options, like delivery and curbside pickup.
While it may not be ideal, these practices are becoming the new norm. Continuing to work remotely and offer these contactless options is the best way to reduce transmissions.
Companies that have been working from home for months may be able to continue doing so indefinitely. For retail and restaurants, continuing to offer contactless options gives customers a much-needed sense of security. You can even demonstrate positive brand values by offering a discount to customers that select a delivery or curbside pickup option.
2. Rearrange Your Floor Plan to Minimize Close Interaction
You might be ready to venture back into the office, store or restaurant. Chances are, though, you may need to reconsider the layout based on new rules.
The general rule of thumb is to stay, at minimum, six feet apart from other people. In many office spaces—especially those with cubicles—workers are much closer. Even spacious offices might not be six feet apart.
To help employees feel more comfortable and safe, do your best to rearrange the floor plan and provide ample space. If you’re interested in learning how to abide by this new policy, check out some examples.
The same goes for other small businesses. The more you can do to minimize close interactions, the better.
3. Limit Capacity and Have Employees Come in on Alternating Days
Even if you don’t have the space to set employees and customers farther apart, you’re not out of options. You can also slowly ramp back up to normal by arranging for employees to come in on alternating days.
Keeping employees on an alternating schedule helps them regain a sense of normalcy, without compromising safety.
To the same point, you can also limit customer or client capacity in your small business, which helps keep everyone safe. Assign one employee to count customers as they enter the building, and ask customers to wait after a certain point. Keep in mind that the maximum number of customers should be far less than the standard allotted number.
4. Give Customers the Opportunity to Schedule Appointments
One way you can avoid long lines winding around your storefront is by offering customers the opportunity to make appointments.
This system will reduce the amount of people in your small business, and give them the confidence they need to make the plunge.
It may not work for all businesses, but adopting this model can help you reduce traffic.
5. Offer Virtual Browsing Via FaceTime (or Another Video Chat App)
No matter how great your small business website is, nothing beats browsing in store. However, there is a way you can offer customers the unmistakable in-store experience—without ever asking them to leave their homes.
Virtual browsing can help strike the balance between an authentic shopping experience and safety. You can ask employees to walk around with an iPad to show customers products before they make a decision.
Real estate companies can also use this strategy to give prospective buyers in-depth tours.
Now more than ever, customer service is king—and virtual browsing could put you one peg above the competition.
6. Disinfect and Sanitize Regularly
Social distancing helps limit airborne transmission of the virus, but thorough deep cleanings can eliminate bacteria altogether.
Be sure to disinfect the entire building, including all areas that customers and/or employees normally visit. In addition to floors, counters and equipment, be sure to also sanitize all high contact surfaces, like door knobs. To take maximum precautions, try deep cleaning on a regular basis.
7. Tell Customers What You’re Doing & Request Feedback
Proactively following social distancing tips for businesses is a great start, but communicating this to your customers is equally important. After all, would they choose to shop at your small business if there was any question about their safety?
Start by posting every social distancing precaution you’re taking across your small business’s digital footprint. This includes your:
- Social media
- Google My Business profile
Also, be sure to send an email to your list about how you’re helping your employees and team remain safe. For customers who may not look your business up, put up posters and signs with this information throughout your store.
One way you can take this a step further is by requesting feedback from customers. Ask them what you can do to improve, and follow this advice when possible. This can go a long way in helping foster brand loyalty, too.
8. Get on Board with Contactless Payments
Standing six feet apart can limit airborne transmission, but what about handing a debit card (or worse—cash) to an employee?
Contactless payment options, like Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and other options prevent the need for a physical cash or card transfer. Instead, the payment process is fast, seamless, and most importantly, safe.
If you haven’t upgraded your POS system in a while, then now might be the right time—especially if customers can pay in new ways.
Get Back to Business With a Line of Credit
Your business can and will adapt, but you’re bound to have some new costs along the way.
A business line of credit can give you the financial flexibility your business needs as you ramp back up to normal. You can cover all the costs of returning to business, including payroll, new social distancing precautions, and more!
Simply draw more as you need it, and only pay interest on what you take. As you pay down the balance, you can draw cash again!
Get started by applying now!