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Practical Ways to Encourage Social Distancing in Your Small Business

Practical Ways to Encourage Social Distancing in Your Small Business

Depending on where you’re located in the U.S. and what your business is, you may have been open for months, or you might just now be reopening.

Regardless, social distancing remains important, and it’s likely something we’ll have to implement for the foreseeable future.

From window clings and floor decals for social distancing to posted signs with your guidelines, there are benefits to making it a priority.

When you’re prioritizing social distancing, you’re showing your customers and your employees that you’re socially responsible and that you care about their wellness and the health of the community. It can even be used as part of your marketing when customers right now are focused on doing business with companies that take these measures seriously.

The following are some specific ways to encourage social distancing in your small business.

Ensure Your Employees Set the Standard

There’s nothing that can create a worse image for your company than having your employees not show social distancing best practices themselves.

Make sure your employees have masks and any other PPE they might need.

Train them on protocols and ensure they’re an example.

Social media profiles dedicated to calling out companies not enforcing social media have become common, and often the target of these pages are the employees themselves rather than customers.

Regularly ask for input from your employees as far as the challenges they might see in social distancing, and work together on solutions.

Think about social distancing as far as how you schedule your employees too. If you have too many employees on-site at once, it can become crowded and quickly seem like you’re not concerned about social distancing.

You want your employees to always serve as brand and social distancing ambassadors.

Employees, once they are trained on new protocols, need to be held accountable.

Use Floor Markers

We often don’t have a realistic view of how far apart we might be from another person. Using floor decals is one of the simplest, least expensive, and most visually compelling ways to encourage social distancing.

Along with floor markers to show distancing, you can also add one-way floor markers.

Place instructions to let people know how things have changed in your business, but make sure your wording is straightforward and easy to understand without being condescending. Behavioral psychology tells us that it’s much better to convince people to do something through positive reminders.

Use Outdoor Space Whenever Possible

We’ve learned a lot about COVID-19 since spring, and one of the big things that we now have a better understanding of is that outdoor spaces tend to be better than indoor spaces when it comes to potential spread.

Anytime you can take advantage of outdoor spaces in your business, try to do so.

Maybe on days there’s nice weather, you have employees outside to help customers, or perhaps you have outdoor events. You can also display items outside.

Follow Best Practices

Whenever you’re implementing anything related to COVID-19, including social distancing protocols or things like enhanced cleaning measures, always follow best practices.

You can check with the CDC for example and you should so on a regular basis because guidance can change quickly.

You can also talk to your local health department that will have location-specific guidelines and recommendations. OSHA also has different types of guidance for businesses specific to the situation right now.

Be Creative

Now could be a time that you pivot certain aspects of your business, and you might ultimately find that it was a smart thing to do in the long-run even when people aren’t as focused on COVID-19.

For example, maybe you start introducing new products, or you might just change how you offer services.

Depending on your business model, this might mean that you do curbside pickup or even branch out into delivery. Maybe now is the time that you do something you’ve been considering for a while, such as building out and revamping your website, so you’re better equipped for online business.

If you aren’t sure where to begin as far as social distancing in your business, reach out to both employees and customers and ask them their thoughts. Ask them what you need to do to help them feel safe and comfortable. You can then use that information not only for policies but also as you market to customers about what you’re doing.

Social distancing is critical, so be proactive but also creative in how you implement it in your business.

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by Rebecca Jones // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.