As state and city stay-at-home orders are set to expire in the coming days, and restrictions for businesses are beginning to loosen, the following question moves to the forefront: how do we safely re-open our businesses? This is a big question, one we all need to weigh differently as we move into the summer months. And while there is much uncertainty surrounding us these days, one thing we all have in common is this: The decisions we make now will create a new normal for us to thrive in.
Our nation is ready to get back to work, but we must be intentional about our re-entry and strike a balance between keeping ourselves and others safe, and getting ‘back on track’ financially. We are going to share some great resources for safely re-opening your doors as we move through this public health crisis. Our actions today will have a significant impact on our collective tomorrow.
The KC Chamber, in partnership with the KC Area Development Council, The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Mid-America Regional Council have teamed up to provide guidance and insight on a safe re-opening of Kansas City. #SafeReturnKC is an initiative aimed at helping local businesses and organizations navigate their re-opening process in the coming months as the KC Metro lifts its stay-at-home order and eases restrictions.
They have provided a thorough and informative guide here, and we are going to highlight some of they key takeaways below, as well as offer some additional resources. We encourage everyone to save the guide and utilize the other great resources found on the KC Area Development Council’s site.
Lean On Local, State, And Federal Resources
You don’t have to create your re-entry strategy from scratch. Using resources from each of these levels (described on page 1 of the guide) will help you narrow down what is most important for you and your organization.
Your Strategy Needs To Be Liquid
The rate of new information is constant and fast paced. Regular review of your re-entry strategy is crucial to ensure you are meeting local, state, and federal guidelines, as well as industry specific guidelines.
The #SafeReturnKC guide offers a 3 Phased plan to opening your organization back up to normal capacity. It is essential to remember that the pandemic may surge again in the near future, causing you to revert back a phase or two. We must be ready for this possibility.
Adopting New Policies & Procedures
How has working from home gone for your staff over the past two months? Can any of them become full time WFH employees? This can help to reduce costs and provide a better work-life balance for certain employees.
For office employees, changes to their daily activities are a must when re-entering the workplace. Consider re-designing your floor plan (if possible) to move away from the ‘open floor concept’. Closing certain gathering areas in the early phases of re-entry will also help to limit crowding.
Adopting a strict ‘check-in’ procedure for both staff and non-staff visitors to your workplace will be very important to ensure you know who is at the office and when.
Who Comes Back To The Office, And When?
Consider bringing your staff back in phases, not everyone all at once. If certain staff can continue working from home without issue, keep it that way.
Divide your staff up into groups and alternate schedules or shifts between the office and working remotely. This will allow for social distancing to be observed at the office while keeping your day-to-day functions consistent.
Include your staff in this discussion, and make sure they have any and all documentation in their hands before they get to the office. Offer any necessary virtual training ahead of time.
Let Your Community Know
Transparency throughout this entire process is crucial. Staff, customers, vendors, and stakeholders must be regularly informed of your organization’s plans and changes. This can be done through a mixture of direct messaging and social media posts.
Get feedback from your staff on what organizational changes should look like, and make sure they are informed of the changes before they are officially implemented.
Create and maintain a readily accessible copy of your re-entry plan for review by your workforce. This should be a living document that can (and will) change. You can share this document out to other audiences when appropriate.
The creators of #SafeReturnKC hosted a great webinar earlier this week to discuss the guide the other great resources they are putting forward. Check out a recording of it here. The webinar took place on Wednesday, April 29th.
In addition to the #SafeReturnKC re-entry guide, the initiative has also gathered a host of other resources on this page.
Have a question that wasn’t answered in any of the resources listed here? Contact the KC Chamber Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we begin to re-open our doors, it is important to look toward the future as getting back to a new normal. This pandemic has changed our society in ways that we could not have expected, and ‘going back to how things were’ is no longer possible. We must evolve from this moment as a stronger and smarter community, the decisions we collectively make today will shape our shared future.
If you need help with any of these resources please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Finally, as each day brings new challenges and obstacles, remember to be good to one another. Support KC has spent the last twenty years working shoulder to shoulder with our partners in the nonprofit community to ensure we all stay ‘mission focused’. Let us not forget that message as our community needs us now more than ever. Support KC is here for you and your organization as you face new challenges and obstacles in the face of this pandemic. We can achieve anything if we work together. Support KC remains open (remotely) and accessible via our office phone number or by reaching out directly to your point of contact.