An estimated 25% of businesses don’t reopen after a disaster. That’s 1 in every 4 local shops shutting down in your town.
Expand that to a global scale after a pandemic, and that’s catastrophic.
So how do you stay in the top 75th percentile? Or better yet, how do we aim for 4 out of 4 businesses staying open?
Plenty of sites will tell you that it’s crucial to set up an emergency plan for your business and your success in the instance that a disaster should arise.
But when we’re already in the midst of a pandemic virus, it’s pretty useless to tell you how to plan ahead - especially for an unprecedented global health crisis that no one had foreseen!
So we have no choice but to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps from the middle of this epidemic and do some backwards mapping to prepare for the future...sounds a bit sci-fi, but bear with me.
We’re already in the thick of it…
We are mid-pandemic. Asia has just set off into its third wave of COVID19, with a trickling effect over land and sea to other countries who are still merely in the first wave and whose numbers are swelling.
(By the way, “waves'' of viral pandemic are indicated by numbers: a wave is defined by a spike followed by a drop, or when a consistently low number of cases (in the single digits) are present. We have a while to go before the 200K+ cases worldwide dip back to <10..!)
Though we absolutely want a plan before taking action, given the circumstances, I’m sure we’re all wondering what we can do NOW.
There is a lot of backlash against mask-mandates from your average CoronaKaren. (You can witness and dissect some arguments here.) But taking a closer look at the numbers, it’s clear that our most minimal habits can reap a world of difference in the health of an entire community. The whole of the US surpassed its own record tally of new infected cases between April and June.
Do you know what else happened between April and June? People who were understandably stir-crazy with quarantine cabin-fever were dropping their guard and ignoring the precautions of social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
So while the masses may willingly throw themselves into the hotbed arena and become or be exposed to vicious viral vectors, we at MaskZ of Sweden stand behind you to take the healthy route. You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon and dismiss the COVID threat wavering before us. It’s not a fabrication. It’s real.
It’s also totally in our power - and in our best interest - to forge new paths of normalcy and face the threat with appropriate countermeasures.
Normalize healthy habits now
Change doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it’s good to embrace change because it’s inevitable. We often feel so overwhelmed by the things we can’t control. When that happens, here’s some good life advice: control the things that you can.
Factors in our control include:
1.Minimizing close contact and keeping a safe distance
The virus gains traction through contact. Studies track the virus’s success through contact tracing, this essentially means that, originating from a single source, we have managed to pass it on to each other. Studies also reveal that we are at greatest risk if we are fewer than 6 feet from a carrier for more than 30 minutes. So what does this mean for your risk of infection? Keeping to the bare minimum of social distancing will reduce that risk immensely.
If that means maintaining a workspace diameter of 6 feet or having people work on rotation from home , for the sake of productivity, so be it. We have to get savvy and create solutions to our newest obstacles. It doesn’t have to be a total game-changer for our life and work routines. It’s an adjustment to a new age of health precaution and safety.
2.Covering your mouth
The bit of age-old etiquette is a no-brainer, but we unwittingly may neglect this habit from time to time, especially if your hands are full. Infections are definitely spread by uncovered coughs and sneezes, so remembering to sneeze into a tissue or your elbow - or a mask! - is the most basic preventative against the spread of germs. Plus, who wants to be inadvertently spit on? No one does! Normalizing mask-wear isn’t a taboo or an infringement of freedom. It’s a simple cloth serving a stately purpose: a simple solution to keep you from swallowing and inhaling someone else’s contagion.
So if you can’t avoid going into work and you’re worried about employees working in close quarters, make masks normal. Set an example by wearing one yourself. You’ll not only reduce any stigma around it, you’ll also actively be protecting yourself and others from unnecessary risk of infection.
3.And all the rest
Then there remain the obvious measures. It’s a quick fix to post signs in the bathroom reminding workers to wash their hands with soap several times per day.
And most importantly, if normalizing healthy life habits should include getting good sleep, consuming enough fluids and a proper diet, staying active and managing stress, why can’t we add ‘exercising germ prevention’ to the list? It’s an easy addition to our lifestyle choices with long-term benefits.
Keep open lines of communication
It’s all good to project new normal habits, but ensuring that your employees are following the cause is important, too. So while you enforce sanitation practices and keep a ready-to-distribute pack of supplies in the storage closet, make sure your people know what’s in it for them.
Keeping something as simple as an information board on the wall with health updates can make worlds of difference in how your colleagues are educated about your business’s health practices.
Or keeping up to date and on track with an alert messaging app is easy, precise and, since it’s via phone, practically guarantees that you’re properly disseminating information.
And not least, hosting an open forum that is managed by one of your staff can give your employees a platform to ask more questions and feel reassured in the workplace with you.
Look back to plan for the future
So those were just remedies to immediately address our situation IN THE NOW.
And NOW that we’ve got these habits under our belts, we can start making longer-term emergency plans for the future.
No matter what region we live in, there exist tons of back up plans for any kind of emergency: hurricanes, tornados, floods, and even people who are armed.
COVID19 was unprecedented and is a learning curve for all of us. There has been no concrete plan in place to prepare for the consequences of such a contagious virus. So as we push through the pandemic, we can take a lot away from it too, including how to prepare against another run-in with it in the future.
So we have to plan backward in order to plan ahead. Confused? Don’t worry, we’re going to lay out some easy go-to’s to make this clearer.
As we move forward, let’s think about the fall-back plans we can have in place at work and the mitigation tools we should have at the ready in the stockroom.
It’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies available at the workplace. We’ve put together a little tool kit that you should keep stashed to ensure the health of your employees and the future of your company. Having all the essentials in one pack like our all-in-one essentials kit makes healthy practices easy to enact. Not to mention that, because it’s all in one, you don’t have to worry about missing any of the essential protective equipment from your stores.
It’s not easy to monitor how often workers touch their eyes, nose and mouth throughout the day. We have a good solution for this in our Hand and Screen Spray which contains active biopolymer ingredients that kill 99% of germs on your hands and phone screens! No soap or alcohol needed. Check it out here.
Put plans in place
There’s a lot we can learn from what’s happening right now. Social media has played a huge role in informing us about healthy practices (and unhealthy ones). It makes sense to start using it to your company’s advantage. Social media makes for an easy platform to create health notices and updates. Top that with the use of hashtags, emojis and graphics, then you’ll be sure to expand your reach and make your plans clear from the get-go.
Workshops are useful to educate staff on your business’s surroundings, physical space, building construction, systems, and service. All of these are integral to your employees’ understanding the the work structure and layout in times of emergency. And once these plans are in place, test and practice your preparedness plans. A well-executed plan is built on a practiced one.
Now that we’re in a position to plan for the future, it’s up to you to keep your work mates informed! We’ve been given the experience - welcome or not - to life during a pandemic. So keep a crisis communication plan in place for when disaster strikes and you need to communicate the next move in the process. Remember, in times of crisis, YOU are the help until help arrives. So having proper communication and access to supplies is crucial for your business to survive such crisis.
Other essentials involve checking your insurance policies to ensure you have enough coverage for whatever pandemic, epidemic, or disaster you might encounter. Your local officials will always have updates, so make sure to keep an ear out for up-to-date announcements.
You are ready to put plans into action
So the next time (if there is a next time) you need to put your plans into action, you’ll already know the answers and can take immediate, planned and controlled action. In a crisis, you are the one turned to for help. Luckily, you’ll be equipped with:
- A platform to transmit and receive emergency alerts and warnings
- An institutionalised communication plan
- Stocks of and access to emergency preparedness kits, include face coverings, disinfectants and quarantine plans
You know the measures you can put in effect now: wear masks, normalize the disinfection process. YOu can take steps to prepare for the future: have supplies at the ready and proper communication in place. What’s left? Just your initiative and your choice to make sure everything is set up and you are prepared to handle the least expected event coming your way.