Some businesses may be able to open now, while others have to remain closed due to the nature of their function – maintaining social distancing in a hair salon, for example, will be more difficult than enforcing this rule in a hardware shop. For many business owners it will be strange to return to their premises after such a long time away, and although infrequent visits to the site, to check things over may have taken place, there’s a big difference between this and actually looking at re-opening.
When you go back to your business premises properly you should check for any signs of criminal activity. Broken windows, crowbar marks on a door and any other damage that could signify that someone has attempted entry, or has committed vandalism. If this is the case, then take photographs and inform your local police department and your insurer. If you don’t have CCTV outside your premises now is the time to install a system. This will help protect your business, help to convict anyone who is caught on camera committing a crime and may even bring your insurance premiums down.
After a period of inactivity it’s a good idea to get your alarm serviced, especially if your due date was during lock-down and you have had to postpone it. You may now be looking at staggered start times for staff to manage their shifts and enable them to maintain social distancing, which means giving the access code to more people, or you being there for very long days to manage access to the building. Some intruder alarm systems allow for different levels of access, but if yours doesn’t maybe it’s time to consider upgrading it. Depending on the nature of your business an access control system may be more suitable, allowing certain members of staff access to only the main area, while other staff have access rights to other areas.
Test your fire alarm system – it’s vital that this is working properly; so check the sensors are functioning and replace batteries, if your system uses them. If you have other environmental controls such as flood warning systems check these too. Your CCTV system should also be tested, if you have one, and the servers checked to ensure they are recording and storing footage (unless you have off-site monitoring or storage). You may want to check over the footage to see if you can identify the cause of any damage you may have found, and to check for people loitering who may be scoping your premises for a future burglary.
Check your stock levels and best before or sell by dates on food products. You may have had to empty everything from display counters, so take the opportunity to have refrigerated units serviced and thoroughly cleaned before re-stocking them. This is also a good time to have a deep clean which will make being back at work feel much nicer, and will welcome your customers when they can return.
Staff wellbeing is just as important as physical security – after all, they are your eyes and ears when you’re not there. If your staff have any concerns about returning to work then ask them what is worrying them and whether they have any suggestions on how to manage social distancing and cleaning routines. They may have some great ideas and they will also feel more involved in the team again, which is good for business in every aspect. You may have to alter the way you work, and assign some staff different roles from their normal job, but with sensitivity, inclusion and a positive approach a return to work is possible.