Keeping a physical business open during the pandemic is a difficult task, especially if you’re unable to adopt a remote work model. Your employees are coming into contact with customers and their colleagues throughout the day, and thus they are constantly exposed to the threat of the virus. If you want to minimize the risk of contagion and a potentially business-busting scenario that would surely follow, there are a few changes you should make to your workforce management.
To start, you need to manage your employee schedules, shifts, and use smart roster management to minimize employees’ exposure to the virus and potential hazards. Doing this will also help safeguard your customers, and thus keep you from having to close down prematurely. What’s more, if you do this right, you might even go through the entire pandemic without having to close your doors a single time, which will help you stay on your feet financially.
Ascertain Your Needs per Shift and Location
The first step you need to take is to analyze your needs for human resources at every location according to the specific work hours of every store or office you have. Different locations might have different work hours and shift requirements, so you will have to take those factors into account when devising a new strategy and new rosters for your employees.
By analyzing the workflow and the amount of work at every location, you can assess how many people you need and at which times you need them during the day. For example, peak hours might require more employees on site, but that doesn’t mean that they should hang around all day. Likewise, you can work towards dispersing the customers into different time slots during the day to minimize the risk of contagion and alleviate the pressure that is on your employees.
Define New Work Lanes and Points of Contact
In the typical work environment, employees bump into each other throughout the day and interact in close proximity to each other. While this used to be a completely normal way of doing things, nowadays it poses a risk to your employees’ health, your entire organization, and your customers. The less social interaction, the better, and that means that you should devise new lanes of movement and communication around the workspace.
It might seem silly at first, but by simply preventing your employees from all hanging around the water cooler (we’re not in the nineties anymore, but it illustrates the point), you can avoid the unnecessary risk of contagion. Likewise, you can identify the traffic lanes around the office where congestion is common and define alternative lanes for employees to take to avoid bumping into each other. This will enforce social distancing and keep people safe.
Use a Digital Tool to Track Everything Important
Of course, one of the best ways to improve your workflow and employee management is to automate rostering and scheduling. By integrating a comprehensive rostering software solution into your system, you can gain a bird’s eye view of your workplace and work requirements. This allows you to eliminate scheduling errors and mark where every employee needs to be at a specific time. It will also give your employees a better overview of their day-to-day workflow and more specific instructions as to where they need to be.
The rostering tool you use needs to be intuitive and full of additional features and integrations that will allow you to combine it with your PoS system, site management tool, your booking system, or any other operations tool you might be using. Automating the rostering and scheduling processes will help you keep your employees safe, maximize productivity, and keep your business open throughout the pandemic.
Change up Your Start and Finish Times to Avoid Congestion
Scheduling your shifts to start and end at roughly the same time as any other business in your area will not bode well for your business or your employees. You see, this creates congestion in public transport and travel routes to your office in general, which increases the risk of someone catching the virus and bringing it to the office or back home.
A solid business move would be to change the start and finish times for your shifts just slightly so that your employees don’t bump into each other, and so that they don’t have to crowd together into public transport.
Allow More Time Between Shifts for Cleaning
Lastly, and probably most importantly, you should rework your shifts and rosters to include more time and potentially human-power for cleaning and disinfection. During the pandemic, it is of vital importance to clean the space thoroughly multiple times a day to remove pathogens and any traces of the Coronavirus that might be lying in wait. Make sure the space is empty between shifts to allow for complete sanitization in the morning, mid-day, and in the evening.
If you want your business to stay open during the pandemic, then you need to adopt a new approach to shift management and rostering. Use these tips to keep your business running smoothly while keeping your employees and customers safe.