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Business as NEWsual

In March 2020, business as USUAL ceased to exist. Welcome to Business as NEWsual!

(Note: I coined this term on the morning of May 14, 2020 so if it starts getting wide-spread use, I’ll be so excited.)

What does Business as NEWsual look like?

For business owners, it involves daily and increased communication with your employees. That is not to say you weren’t in communication with your team prior to the pandemic, but once your business reopens, the interactions will be more individualized and confidential. Everything will need to be documented. Many employers will require (and some already have) a short questionnaire for each employee to complete at the start of the work day. “Do you have a cough, had a new loss of smell/taste in the last 24 hours…?” It may seem intrusive, but these are part of the requirements released by the Governor. This is Business as NEWsual.

Expect to have your temperature taken upon arriving to work, and also at some places of business that you go to for goods and services. Expect to see a new focus on handwashing and wearing face masks. Employers want to make sure their employees are healthy to mitigate the risk of having to shut down the entire business.

Expect to see changes in the layout of your offices and places of employment to limit interactions between employees and customers. The current guidelines are 2 persons per 1,000 square feet of floor space. This calculation also applies to patrons and visitors in your place of business. Businesses will post signage on their doors with the maximum number of occupants – please honor and respect this request. Clear barriers are being constructed at desks and counters; six foot designations are being marked on floors. This is Business as NEWsual.

Many employers will continue to allow their employees to work from home for the immediate future, even if their business has been approved for re-opening. If you can work from home, many businesses will encourage you to continue to do so since they have invested in the procedures and technology to allow telework. I know many people are anxious to return to the workplace and to end the temporary dining room office set-up. You being at home is not necessarily a bad thing. (Unless you find yourself snacking all day because the refrigerator is just steps away…) If your employer allows you to continue to work from home and your productivity/mindset benefits from it, please give that due consideration as there are still many unknown variables affecting the transmission of this disease. This is Business as NEWsual.

Much thought has been put into the guidelines and recommendations being released by state health professionals and leadership this week. The goal is to help WV businesses open and minimize the risk of community spread of COVID-19. Until the threat of this virus ceases to consume every aspect of our lives, this is Business as NEWsual.

Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news. We also invite you to call us at 304-422-3588 or email us at info@movchamber.org.

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Jill Parsons is the President/CEO of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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