This article includes:
- Getting employees acclimated to a new work layout
- How to introduce new health and hygiene protocols to staff
- Addressing changes to scheduling and operational hours
- The paperwork you need to update before welcoming staff back
- How to help improve morale after an extended furlough
You’ve missed your clients during the COVID-19 closures—and you’ve missed your staff, too! Your team has done so much to help your business get through the global crisis. They’ve learned everything from how to live stream classes and services to how to prepare your business to reopen. Now, your staff is counting on you to bring them back to work safely and help them settle into the new normal. Here’s what you need to know about welcoming your staff back!
Changes to Your Physical Layout
When your staff comes back to work, things are going to look very different. So, it’s important that your employees see their new workspace before reopening your doors to the public. If your state’s reopening guidelines permit, schedule a pre-opening tour for staff. That way, you can guide them through the new layout, social distance markers, traffic flow, hygiene stations, and spaced-out work areas. This will help employees get familiar with the new layout and they can ask questions or make suggestions.
New Health and Hygiene Practices
For many businesses, hygiene and sanitation are already a big part of your everyday routine. But there will be new practices across every industry that employees will need to incorporate into their daily routines. Make sure to communicate clearly to employees your expectations for them, as well as what expectations you’re setting for clients to keep them safe.
- Mandatory temperature checks for staff and customers
- Mandatory masks for staff and customers
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for staff, like gloves, shields, or smocks
- New sanitation practices
- Personal hygiene stations for staff and customers
- Shoe removals
Bright idea: Provide your employees with a “welcome back” bag with some of the PPE they’ll need for their return, like gloves, masks, or protective barriers for their workstations. Get creative to make it fun as well as safe! For instance, instead of gifting your staff disposable masks, give employees reusable cloth masks with your business logo or colors to build camaraderie.
To protect both your clients and staff, have a plan for managing the number of workers on-site at the same time. Give realistic expectations about how many employees will be on-site at once, and how you’ll ensure that everyone has the chance to work safely.
Extend Business Hours. For example, opening earlier, closing later, or remaining open all week to accommodate extended appointment times, staggered shifts, or rotating schedules.
Optimize Scheduling. Such as, extended disinfection times, gap times for sanitation, ending double booking or booking gap times, or limiting the number of appointments scheduled daily.
Stagger/Rotate Schedules. Staggered shifts and/or rotating schedules are a way to limit the number of personnel on-site at once. For instance, scheduling employees in 4- or 6-hour shifts, or scheduling workers only on certain workdays.
Ease the Pressure with Live Stream. Extended client consultations and remote services via live stream help your staff feel connected to their clients and ease some of the pressures of on-site scheduling changes.
Many of your new procedures will require updates to paperwork, to ensure that both your business and staff are protected. Make sure that paperwork updates are performed before seeing clients, and that your staff understands how these changes will affect (and protect) them.
- Update the employee handbook to include new safety, sanitation, hygiene, and scheduling requirements
- Change booth rental contracts to include new requirements for sanitation, hygiene, and client documentation
- Create new contracts for staff to uphold safety, sanitation, hygiene, and client documentation
- Require customers to sign liability waivers
- Document daily sanitation
- Obtain additional certifications or continuing education
- Evaluate workers compensation or insurance requirements, updates, or changes
The biggest challenge you face as a business owner is rebuilding employee morale. Many of your staff may be eager to jump back into the workplace again, but some may have anxieties or extenuating circumstances (such as underlying health conditions, access to childcare or caregiving responsibilities.) Here, it’s important for you to lead with empathy. Provide flexibility for staff with childcare or family care situations. Allow your staff time to adjust to the new normal and hold space for those who struggle. Allow booth renters or staff who don’t want to come back to do so without penalty or judgement. Show your staff that you understand that while everyone has faced the same crisis, none of us has faced it in quite the same way.
When it’s time to welcome your staff back, Vagaro can help you make admin changes easily and efficiently—from updating your business hours and schedules, to easy-to-use forms and liability waivers. We’ve even got a COVID-19 liability waiver template! Now you can focus your attention on the personal, and truly welcome back your staff!