An American Printer Commentary
By Andy & Julie Plata
American Printer, and the OutputLinks Communications Group
People want to do business with companies that can show that they have precautions in place to protect them from infections. When your clients re-initiate their business relationship, they will expect safety assurances equivalent to what they receive from their grocer, restaurant, and delivery company.
For example, a barbershop is strictly operating by appointment only. Every other chair is empty, a new gown is used for each customer, and they make a production of disinfecting every workstation after each client appointment.
A friend shared how impressed she was that her manicurist had installed plexiglass screens between each technician and their client and between the other clients. She also remarked at how disinfecting each workstation between clients gave her the comfort she needed to return.
Sanitation safety measures like those are what people now expect from their service provides. And, if they do not perceive a safe and disinfected environment, they will take their business elsewhere.
Many companies are finding that employees will not return until that can feel the workplace is medically safe.
Shoulder to shoulder working environments is not going to be acceptable to many employees. Their expectation will be safely spaced work areas with consistent access to masks, gloves, and sanitizer will be a requirement. And, upgraded cleaning and equipment disinfection between shifts should be a standard.
And a major concern is the legal liability should an employee become COVID-19 infected due to a less than sanitary job environment.
Business as Usual?
When you get back to inviting clients and prospective clients into your facility, what will they see? Remember, it is not just how good your company is consistently cleaning, disinfecting, and providing personal protection. It also depends on how your clients and prospects perceive you are doing.
This is an entirely new era. Business, as usual, is not an option.
The old ways of doing business can result in the loss of valuable customers. Either your company has updated its procedures to meet CDC, and good business guidelines or clients will find providers who do.
And remember, a broad spectrum of health and business experts are saying it is not an if, but rather a when the next outbreak will occur.
A Few Questions to Consider
- What personal protection equipment (PPE) - face shields, masks, gloves - is needed for employees and clients?
- Who will train the team in the proper use of PPEs?
- When and how will PPEs be offered to visitors?
- Is there floor signage at entryways and throughout the facility to support social distancing?
- Does your company’s sick leave policy and health insurance need to be updated to:
- Match up with public health guidance?
- Encourage sick employees to stay home?
- Taking employees' temperatures and checking other health signs?
- Leverage telemedicine technologies and self-assessment tools?
- How will your conference rooms, lunch areas, lockers, and lobby be reconfigured to assure social distancing and good health awareness?
- What switches, buttons, and tools can be converted to contact free status?
- Have you designated, trained, and announced a qualified, healthy workplace coordinator responsible for COVID-19 assessment and control planning.
- Has your company established ongoing communications with state and local public health officials and occupational safety and health professionals for vetted, up to date COVID-19 information?
- Are alternative staffing plans in place to fill in if groups of employees need extended sick leave?
For additional information here are a couple of sites to check out:
After weeks and months of sequestering, we all wish we could just go back to the old normal. But that will not be the case for the near future or maybe ever. So, the best time to prepare for the new normal is now.
How well your company prepares will make THE difference in the business’ success over the coming years. Maintaining the health of clients and employees will drive a healthy bottom line.
We are not trying to be the experts here, and the above list is only a starting point to get you thinking. Let's work together to make print facilities safe for our team and clients. Share your thoughts on preparedness below.
Empowering the print message for the digital age,
Andy & Julie Plata
Co-CEOs, American Printer, and the OutputLinks Communications Group