Two women sitting in an empty cafe.

COVID-19 Checklist for Reopening Your Business

The first steps towards loosening the lockdown after COVID-19 have been taken.  Those who cannot work from home are being “actively encouraged” to return to work.  But as a business owner you have a responsiblity to prepare carefully for the return of your employees and customers.  

If you haven’t already put plans together, it’s time to start.  The checklist below is a good place to start.

1. Generate a plan to reopen with ‘social distancing’ in place when your business is legally allowed to.

  • Do we have a supply of hand sanitiser available for all entrances and exits used by staff and customers?
  • Fix sanitisers in place to minimise theft.
  • Have we done a deep clean of our premises?
  • Do we have a supply of face masks for staff? If possible branded?
  • Have we worked out how to minimise the risk to staff by introducing social distancing wherever possible? E.g. spacing out seating, staggering shift times or rotas, placing visual markers where queues form to help people socially distance?

2. Do you have a plan to reengage with staff who have been furloughed because of COVID-19?

  • Are they physically able to return to work? And on what basis?
  • Calculate what hours you need them to work. Consider whether this requires formal HR assistance if there is a major impact to their working hours or contract.
  • What training will they need to be safe and competent doing their job?
  • Will they need to be re-skilled or reassigned? And how will this happen?

3. Have you forecasted the impact of social distancing on our business?

  • Will there be a reduced demand and capacity?
  • What does it mean for your turnover and profit. Have you made allowances for this in your cashflow? See our cashflow page for further information.
  • What are your resource requirements?
  • Employees who have children of school going age may still need to be at home with their children, so how will you work around this?

4. Have you identified ways to reduce the need for customers to physically be on your premises?

  • Can you implement telephone and/or internet ordering?
  • Would putting photos or videos of our products/services on our website help customers to commit to buying without physical interaction?
  • Can you set up deliveries to customer homes?
  • Or click and collect?

5. Have you completed a risk assessment and implemented recommendations to minimise the risk of COVID-19 to your staff?

  • Have you conducted a risk assessment for your premises? There are templates at hse.gov.uk
  • How can you reduce contact in your offices and premises as much as possible?
  • Increase cleaning of all surfaces.
  • Have you planned education and training to staff on how they will play their part to keep everyone safe?

6. Start to identify ways to increase demand for your business’s services or products whilst still remaining ‘COVID-19’ secure?

  • Try to identify new products or services which will be in demand.
  • Brainstorm different ways of delivering the service or fulfilling the order or demand.
  • Are there new channels you can explore to market? E.g. direct to consumers?

Find all the latest COVID-19 updates for business and the self-employed on our COVID-19 updates page.

HM Government’s guidance for working safely in offices during COVID-19.

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