With the plan announced by the White House on the reopening of America, getting back to work is on everyone’s mind. Whether you think it is time to go back now or you believe we should wait it out, there is one thing we all have in common. We need to have a plan. Governors will soon start to give the green light to reopen business and with that comes great responsibility. North Carolina moves into Phase One of our reopening strategy on Friday May 8th. Even if your business is not approved to open as of this Friday, if we could offer any advice on this topic it would be to start planning now.

               Reopening will not just mean you unlock the door and flip on the lights, it us much more than that. You will need a plan in place of how to protect your team, how you will continue working safely, what you will do if you or anyone else is exposed to COVID-19, and what your business will look like now versus what it was before the pandemic. In a perfect world we would all go back to work and COVID-19 would disappear and things would be just as they were before, but this is not a perfect world. We all have to find a new normal and doing so will ensure we can pivot and survive the coming waves of changes.

               First you may want to have a deep clean of your work space. Everyone will feel more comfortable coming back to work if they know everything has been disinfected. Once your team knows you took that extra step, they will feel like you are taking their health seriously, which is what everyone wants. Next you want to decide what precautions you want your team to have in place when returning. Will your team wear masks? Will you send out hourly emails to everyone reminding them to get up and wash their hands? This will look vastly different depending on your type of business. For instance, if you work in an office setting those precautions might make sense versus working with the public where you might want extra precautions in place. You can see OSHA guidelines specific to different industries here.

               So, what if someone on your team alerts you that they have tested positive for COVID-19 once everyone is back to work? What is your plan at that point to ensure everyone is safe? You need to make sure you know what steps you are willing to take in case this happens. What if one of your team members comes in and works a full day only to tell you at the end of the shift that they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19? Although it might feel like over planning now, we promise that if this does happen you will be happy you had a plan in place.   

               Finally, you must come to terms with the fact that business might not be as busy as before the pandemic, at least not right away. Do you need to consider a reduction in staff? If so, do you know the best steps to take when determining who to keep and who to let go? You might not need to open your doors with a full staff until you feel the waters to know what your new normal looks like, and that is okay. People will continue to normalize their own lives at a pace that feels safe for them even if the governor decides to open back up. It is important that you have a long-term plan in place from the time you get ready for your team to come back until the time you open your doors and beyond. If you feel overwhelmed reach out for help. We are all working towards a new normal and walking the path alone can overwhelm anyone. If you need help putting a plan together, help with reduction in workforce, or you just need someone to talk to, please reach out. We are here to help

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