The COVID-19 pandemic has forced North Carolina businesses to temporarily halt operations and adopt a remote work setup to secure business continuity. And it will be some time before we see all businesses run at increased capacity again, as Phase 3 of the statewide reopening scheme has been delayed.
When restrictions are finally lifted, make sure that your organization is prepared. If you resume operations without taking the necessary precautions, you might put your employees or customers at risk. Consider the following measures before hanging the “Open” sign on your door.
1. Make sure to comply with the state’s business reopening guidelines
The North Carolina state government has specified general and industry-specific guidelines for businesses for each of the three phases of its reopening plan. Ensure minimum compliance by rolling out protocols for the following:
- Topline guidance – Rearrange furniture in the workplace so that they promote social distancing. Leave at least a six-foot distance between desks or workstations, and close off areas where employees are likely to gather, like the break room. In places where foot traffic is always high, such as the reception area, put marks on the floor to indicate where guests are supposed to stand.
And because social distancing requires forming new habits, workers and guests may need to be continuously reminded to practice it. Put up visible signs in multiple locations reminding that individuals must keep six feet of one another at all times.
- Employee screening guidance – Develop a plan for monitoring your employees' health. Conduct daily COVID-19 screening of workers before allowing them to enter your premises, and send any symptomatic workers home immediately. Encourage sick individuals to stay at home and use their paid time off benefits instead of coming to the office.
Prepare a COVID-19 response protocol in case an employee tests positive for the virus after you reopen. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued specific guidelines on managing and isolating employees showing COVID-19 symptoms that should be followed accordingly.
- Sanitation procedures – Promote frequent hand-washing by providing soap and hand drying materials in washrooms. Set up stations where people have convenient access to hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol. Frequently check these stations and refill them regularly. Clean and disinfect the workplace daily, particularly high-touch areas.
2. Keep remote working options open
Not all of your employees will feel comfortable coming to the workplace when it reopens. Instead of forcing everyone to report on-site, limit nonessential travel, and allow your staff to work from home.
Also make accommodations for workers who belong in COVID-19 vulnerable and high-risk groups, like pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, and those who have an underlying health condition like diabetes.
The bottom line? Before you reopen, prepare to run your business with a limited number of employees on-site. This is also a good time to think about making remote working a permanent part of your operations. If working from home is not plausible for your industry or line of business, look into staggering shifts to lessen physical interaction among your workers.
3. Beef up your cybersecurity
Your business might have survived the past few months by operating remotely. To ward off cybercriminals, you may have used an ad hoc solution like a virtual private network (VPN). But if you’re planning to implement a remote work policy for the long term, then you will have to prioritize cybersecurity and deploy more permanent solutions.
Coronavirus phishing scams are rampant, and phishers are taking advantage of the chaos to trick people into making careless decisions. Your workforce should not only be trained to spot phishing scams, but they should also be provided with solutions that can detect and dispatch spam and phishing attempts. Invest in technologies that will limit company-wide access, implement multifactor authentication, and manage mobile devices.
These solutions may sound expensive, but improving your cybersecurity doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. By partnering with a reliable managed IT services provider, you can save on infrastructure costs without compromising your protection.
At SpectrumWise, we offer a holistic approach to cybersecurity. Our security solutions, including network security audits, state-of-the-art filtering programs, round-the-clock protection, automated updates, and on-demand system maintenance will cover all your bases. We also have extensive programs to equip your team with the right mindset and tools to thwart cyberattacks. While you take care of your business, we’ll take care of your cybersecurity. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today.