A Post First-Wave Planner for Small Businesses

5. Facilities

  • Confirm with local authorities that it is safe for employees to return to work. Depending on the type of business you have, you may need to get additional health, safety and fire inspections to get the green light to open again.
  • Bring back sufficient staff to do a thorough cleaning/sanitization of your facilities before officially resuming operations. This will give your workers, customers and stakeholders peace of mind that you have their safety and security as a top priority.
  • Sanitize all surfaces, especially those in common areas such as meeting rooms, break rooms, the cafeteria and lobby areas. Establish more stringent maintenance and janitorial procedures and practices to reduce the chance of community spread.
  • Consider closing common areas to ensure proper social distancing is followed.
  • Rethink worker and customer traffic patterns through your facility to maintain social distancing and reduce contact points.
  • Post notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other work areas where they are highly visible.
  • Provide disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workspace, equipment, tools and common areas.
  • Make the required adjustments to your work and public spaces to ensure proper social distancing. This may require some additional structure work, so factor in the time and resources needed to do this.
  • Monitor the Center for Disease Control and state and local guidance for best practices as these change over time.
  • Re-establish utilities if they have been temporarily discontinued.
  • Inventory damages (spoiled/outdated products, etc.).
  • Check the building interior for any potential equipment malfunctions due to lack of use or regular maintenance (water, toilets, hand basins, boilers, fuel supplies etc.).
  • Contact vendors and suppliers and re-establish delivery and support functions.
  • Systematically bring back services that were being performed remotely. You may want to bring these back in stages so that you don’t become overwhelmed when payroll is due and find yourself deeper in debt. This would include things like janitorial services, paid parking for workers, etc.
  • Verify that you have adequate staffing to monitor and maintain HVAC systems and other environmental controls.
  • Conduct preventative maintenance on critical systems. Make sure equipment is tested as specified by the manufacturer. This includes detection devices that require regular testing, inspection, maintenance and calibration. Prioritize systems that had their regular maintenance delayed.
  • Review your security procedures. Consider putting a progressive system in place to limit building/facility access in case of a second wave. Put a plan in place that automatically triggers when certain events transpire, such as a positive test of a visitor, vendor or employee. Ensure you have the proper equipment to support this revised process.
  • Consider making your building safer if extended closure is required again, such as installing shutters to protect windows, inexpensive emergency lights that turn on during power outages and security cameras. Develop a plan to store inventory, valuables and equipment.