How should retailers guide staff through the coronavirus crisis?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doctor’s blog.
When was the last time you talked about personal hygiene and cleanliness with your staff? With stores still open and others to eventually re-open amid coronavirus risks, meetings devoted to health have risen to the highest priority in order to allay concerns, set procedures and take care of your people.
Here are five things every retailer should be covering with staff:
- Personal hygiene. Many tips being regularly heard — not touching your face, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, covering your sneeze — should be regularly reinforced. Accountability partners can send reminders of key protocols a couple of times a shift.
- Personal space. Don’t go in for a handshake or even a fist bump anymore. The prudent thing is to allow greater personal space.
- Cleaning. Institute a daily checklist for using a combination of household cleaners and disinfectants. Add extra time to your schedules and close ten minutes early so staff does a thorough job at the end of their shifts.
- Sickness. The days of telling people they have to come in are over. You need to consider paid sick leave, too.
- Panic: In some years, the flu kills more than 30,000 in the U.S., but as The New York Times reports, the flu isn’t an irrational fear because we understand it, have experienced it and gotten better; we feel we know that threat. If we allow ourselves to stay in fear 24/7, it builds stress that can impact our immune systems, and we’ll be looking at everybody as carriers. To deal with panic, arm yourself with the facts. There is a lot of misinformation and scare tactics out there. You are the one your crew will look to, so check with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for up-to-date information.
We’ll get through this, but until then it is prudent to change the way you do business. You still need to train staff, market to new customers and look at creative ways to get them to return more often and spend more once this pandemic retreats.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which of the suggestions mentioned in the article do you think presents the biggest hurdle for retailers and their associates? What suggestions would you add for preparing staff to operate amid coronavirus fears?