Whether your brick-and-mortar office or store has already reopened or is planning to, be sure to use the technology available to keep everyone—your employees and your customers, clients, and patients—safe.
Caveat: I’m not a health or tech expert, and the field for COVID-19-related devices to help businesses is expanding daily. But here’s just a sampling of what you might consider to help you operate your business safely at the current time.
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If there’s a need or a problem, entrepreneurship usually comes up with solutions. The current pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to businesses to keep everyone safe. Some sophisticated tools should be considered for this purpose.
- No contact temperature taking devices. Taking the temperature of anyone entering your premises is required in some locations and highly recommended in others. The way to do this varies from simple handheld thermometers, which are infrared scanners that an employee uses to pass across the forehead of an individual. Another type of device uses facial recognition and thermal scanning. Other devices are “wearables”—watches, rings, and other sensors—that take temperature just like they monitor heart rate and other bio markers. Obviously, costs vary with the option used. Small businesses aren’t going to install large scanners now being used in some airports and train stations for mass scanning of passengers walking through the devices, but the simpler, less costly options are viable.
- Social distancing apps. Google has an app—1point5—that employees can use to maintain appropriate distancing from customers and other employees. But because it works on Bluetooth, the other party must have this to make it effective. (There have been a lot of negative reviews that it doesn’t work, but expect that Google will continue to improve it.) Other apps for social distancing and contact tracing for business include SaferMe (chosen by the New Zealand government) and Regulr, are sure to be developed.
- Electrostatic sprayers. Depending on what you want to disinfect, an electrostatic sprayer may be the answer. There are many variations of this concept and prices vary considerably. Learn more from Commercial Cleaning Corp.
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- Air filtration systems. There are some filters that could mitigate virus exposure. The National Air Filtration Association says there’s no single item, such as a UV system, that is certain to prevent virus exposure, but there are some helpful strategies.
Even if you don’t want or need high-tech tools for your business, definitely consider some basic tools for safety.
- Personal protective equipment. Masks, hand sanitizers, and other personal safety items should be readily available for your staff. Also provide items for customers where needed. For example, if you are located in an area where the government has mandated masks in places of business or you just want customers to use them, be sure to have masks on hand for visitors who show up without them.
- Cleaning supplies. Cleaning chemicals are also needed to wipe surfaces and all items touched by employees and customers.
- Plexiglass. Depending on the nature of your business, plexiglass can provide an effective barrier between your employees and your customers. It can be useful for payment windows and check-out locations, nail salon tables, customer counters, and more. NPR offers a brief talk on using plexiglass now.
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The facts about COVID-19 continue to remain unclear in some respects, but there’s no question that businesses need to take all precautions available to maintain a safe environment. Continue to monitor information about the disease as well as tools that can be useful to creating the safest workplace possible.
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Barbara Weltman is the founder of Big Ideas for Small Business, Inc., which publishes Idea of the Day. She is the author of J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2020 and other books that inform the small business community of tax, financial, and legal information they should know about.