As the world moves past the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, it is likely you will face some uncertainty about how your business will operate in a post-pandemic world. Not only do you want to be sure that your staff is safe from contracting and spreading the virus, but that they also feel safe and comfortable returning to work.

As you prepare to reopen your business, ask yourself these questions to ensure that you’re ready to take on the task of managing a work environment in this new normal:

What preliminary measures should I take before bringing my crew members back to work?

By the time you reopen your business, you don’t want to have to shut it right back down because an infected employee came to work. You will need to decide if you’re going to require all of your employees to be tested for COVID-19, or if you’ll have them monitor their symptoms on their own. If coronavirus testing is unavailable, you might want to consider requiring workers to check their temperature and report the results before coming into work each day. You should also have a plan of action in case one of your crew members gets sick so that you can quickly act on it and inform your employees.

How will I enforce social distancing?

It is advised that everyone stays at least 6 feet away from others to decrease and prevent the spread of coronavirus in the workplace. During projects where maintaining proper distance may be difficult, you will need to have a strategic system in place to make social distancing possible. An example of this would be scheduling only one or two people to work on a project at a time.

What resources do I need to provide for my crew's protection?

In addition to social distancing, it is important to encourage your team to cover their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing to prevent contaminating surfaces that others may touch. You’ll have to consider if you will provide your crew with personal protective equipment (PPE), or if they will supply their own. Personal protective equipment should serve as a safeguard while allowing your crew to work safely. Have hand sanitizer available in case there is little or no accessibility to soap and water for washing hands. Always disinfect any high-contact surfaces to keep your job site clean.

How will I handle a crew member who tests positive for COVID-19?

Because of how easy it is to spread COVID-19, it’s not enough to just send a sick employee home for the day. Part of your preparedness plan should include informing your crew and clients. If you have a small crew, it may be easy to identify all of the people that came in contact with the infected worker, so that they can also be sent home to self-quarantine. If your staff is larger, you may find that temporarily pausing a project is the safest way to prevent all chances of the virus spreading.

It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the pressure that comes with ensuring your crew’s safety during these unprecedented times. The reality is that many people can contract the virus outside of work, and could be spreading it to others while not showing any symptoms. This can be alarming. Making sure that you are prepared to reopen your business and having a plan in place are the first steps in ensuring a safe workplace. Always use your best judgement when making decisions about your crew’s, client’s, and your health.