While we are all sick of hearing about Covid and its variants, we must accept that Covid 19 has changed the professional landscape. Any business that is customer-facing needs to create long-term strategies for customer and employee contact. Your business should comply with all legalities before allowing anyone onto the premises, even if you work from a home office. If a customer, vendor, or employee contracts COVID-19 while on the premises, you may be liable if you have not established safeguards. To help you set the stage for safe meetings and interactions, Portfolio Management Group shares the following recommendations.
Protect your personal assets first.
Begin by establishing your business as a Limited Liability Company or LLC. Setting yourself up as an LLC will ensure that you and your assets are protected from litigation and has many tax advantages. You can avoid hefty lawyer fees by filing for the LLC yourself. If you are unsure how to go about doing this, you can use a formation serviceor Portfolio Management Group will do it for you in one day for a nominal fee. Do remember that different states have different regulations, so check the rules in your state before moving ahead.
Set up your workplace for safe customer meetings
Whether your workplace is in an office building or you are running a home-based business, the U.S. Department of Labor has provided employers with a set of regulations with which you must comply. Basic steps for stopping the transmission of Covid-19:
- Regularly clean surfaces–that includes anything a visitor to your workplace may touch: door handles, desks, tables, chairs, telephones.
- Ask visitors to wash their hands when entering the building and provide hand sanitizer.
- Promote good respiratory hygiene within the workspace. Ask visitors to wear masks and provide masks for those who don’t readily have them. Open windows or consider investing in a UV light for your HVAC. If you have an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system) installed in your workplace, then installing a UV light in your HVAC system helps to rid your workspace of germs. Covid-19 particles that are exposed to UV light cannot produce the proteins they need to survive. Reliable air states that “although the UV light does not kill the germs immediately, it nullifies their ability to cause harm and shortens their life span considerably.”
- Ask visitors not to come to meetings if they show signs of Covid-19. The CDC notes signs include sneezing, coughing, or a low-grade fever.
Set up a virtual business
Many businesses are fully transitioning to an online working environment. This means keeping employees and clients out of your workspace and investing in solutions that move all your business-related transactions into the virtual space.
Invest in technologies that minimize contact
Even before Covid-19, businesses were moving their offices online. As a result, there are many technology solutions around for assisting you in a non-contact business.
Accounting software: financial software can automate all your payroll, invoicing, and tax requirements. Accounting software can link directly to your bank and PayPal, and manage all financial processes virtually without you needing to visit a bank or pay an employee in person.
Human Relations solutions: HR software allows you to onboard staff, enroll them in training courses, access personal development plans, plan shifts and pay them all in the virtual space.
Video conferencing software: invest in technologies that minimize contact using video conferencing software such as Zoom, Webex or Google Meets.
Staging your workspace for virtual meetings
Conducting your professional life online means that your computer screen is your customer’s window into your world. Your workspace needs to look professional and attractive to people you are meeting online.
Staging Studio suggests the best way to stage your office for virtual meetings is to find a space that has natural light but where sun or shadows don’t fall on your face. If there is no natural lighting, then you can use a desk light or a ring light that will illuminate your face during online calls. If your windows are fairly dingy and interior cleaning isn’t helping, use Google to find a “window cleaner near me“ to get a professional service to thoroughly clean your windows from top to bottom, making it easier to add natural light to your office space.
Get your seating right. Ensure your computer and seat are set up correctly. Have your camera set at eye level to ensure you don’t slouchand eliminate that dreaded double chin.
Minimize clutter, but don’t be tempted to remove all personality from your space. A carefully chosen family photo or a stack of books gives an insight into your personality and makes you appear more human.
Budding entrepreneurs who are considering engaging customers need to mitigate liability for Covid-19 infections. Stage your workplace so that you are covid considerate but professional-looking, regardless of whether you greet customers face-to-face or you have moved your business into the virtual space.
If you believe you have a potential problem or need help in preventative recommendations, contact us today for a no-cost initial consultation.