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May 18, 2020

How to Re-Open Your Business Amidst Uncertain Times.

There is no question the business impact that COVID-19 has made will take many months to recuperate from. Retail and service companies, small and large are all carefully planning for a re-opening. In the U.S., the Federal government has left this decision to the states and has presented a phased guideline approach that the states should use. A patchwork of states with different governments, rules and severity of Coronavirus cases are each working their own plans for re-opening.

Understandably there remains a lot of confusion on what steps businesses should take.

Many businesses are working together to create their own standards to get started but the key to winning in this challenging environment is ensuring that clients feel safe no matter where they patron.

The network effects of program consistency across businesses is paramount to success.

The Experts Rally Together

Fortunately, retail and service industries have rallied together in partnerships to provide detailed processes that will get you closer to creating an effective and lasting action plan.

Below is a list of respected authorities that are leading the charge. Take a moment to dive into the appropriate checklists and guides to help develop an effective plan for your business.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) -- Shop Safe Program was developed in accordance with CDC guidelines and bench-marking between retailers who shared their operational experiences over the past several weeks.

National Retail Federation (NRF) -- Open Doors Program was developed with input from hundreds of retailers brought together, the initiative provides operational guidelines and considerations in four areas: health and safety, people and personnel, logistics and supply chain, and litigation and liability. Use their checklist to help ask the right questions for your program, but their other action plans are available to members only.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- The FDA has put together a best practices guide to operate retail food stores, restaurants, and associated pick-up and delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard workers and consumers.

How Will You Respond?

No matter which plan you choose, effective communications at all levels is now more important than ever. Creating an engaged task-force of team members will be necessary for a successful program. We suggest tackling communications in these 4 sections:

Executive Communication - Setting the tone and reinforcing priorities and responsibility. Your team and clients have expectations that ultimately rest upon your leadership.

Employee Communication - Create regular cadence of team updates and improve transparency through anonymous survey of employees and clients.

Re-opening Plans & Expectations - Enforcement of new processes and communicate expectations for teams and clients.

Physical Communications - Leverage creative signage to reinforce policies and expectations.

If you've already got a plan in place and use digital signage -- grab our messaging templates (portrait or landscape) to reinforce your team's efforts.

OptiSigns is committed to our role in this. Digital signage can't stop the pandemic but it will help raise public awareness of all the efforts your business is doing to maintain a safe environment for your employees and clients. Over the coming months, we will continue to release actionable insights and helpful templates to expedite and reinforce your key messages.In the end, this is not about a short-term fix but about defining a new normal that creates a safe working and shopping environment for all and we all have a role to play.

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