COVID-19 news and updates change quickly and frequently. Some of the information in this article may soon be out of date. We will do our best to keep details updated during this challenging time. The article below reflects information as of May 5, 2020.
As our nation carefully begins to “re-open” and business restrictions seem to relax, it is important to note the health and safety of all Americans is still a grave concern. It is still important to diligently follow health precautions and make every effort necessary to keep you, your team, and homeowners safe.
Make sure your business is prepared for the upcoming busy summer months. As your business continues to adapt, it is important to remain up to date on recent news and procedures. Below, we share safety precautions adopted from many of our trusted contractors:
Follow CDC and federal guidelines
It is paramount to continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to keep yourself —and those around you— safe as possible.
Continue to follow recommendations on a federal, state, and local level. Stay informed of changes and adapt as needed.
Create processes for your team
In addition to official guidelines that dictate social distancing measures and cleaning hands/surfaces, consider the following:
- Create an open conversation about the health of your team. Many companies are pre-screening on-site employees for COVID-19 symptoms each morning or completing a health survey. Encourage all teammates to report any symptoms of shortness of breath, coughing, or fever. Require employees experiencing these symptoms to stay home or seek medical attention consistent with the Center for Disease Control guidelines.
- Increase cleaning procedures and protocol for “high-traffic” areas of your business including, bathrooms, tools, doors, and handles, etc.
- Create a virtual work environment for your team. Encourage workers to work from home, or remotely, when they can. Only essential employees should be in the office or on job sites.
- Do not allow visitors to your business.
- For lunch, encourage employees to bring their own food, drinks, and utensils from home. Employees on job sites should be encouraged to bring their own thermos or water bottle.
- Create an internal checklist of new, COVID-19 processes and discuss them thoroughly with your team. This might involve role-playing with your team on how to greet homeowners, such as not shaking hands, or being mindful of distance in the doorway or at the table. It might also be as simple as how to properly remove a pair of gloves. Discuss and review these new routines so everyone feels prepared and comfortable.
Safety Tips: Preparing for an Appointment
- Re-share how your team is taking precautions during this pandemic.
- Ask homeowners to draw or share a map of their property. Have the homeowner mark and identify areas that require care, like gardens or trees. This will assist with any inspections or installation.
- Ahead of meeting with a homeowner and entering their home, confirm there are no people in the residence experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
- If possible, suggest meeting in the front or backyard. Continue to maintain social distance.
Safety Tips: Running an Appointment
- Wash hands for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer before entering a homeowner’s home.
- Require all on-site workers to be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) when entering homes. This includes a facemask, gloves, and shoe covers. Dispose of the gloves after each job or appointment.
- If and when entering a home, your team should come equipped with cleaning materials to wipe down and sanitize areas before —and after— occupying them.
- Continue to social distance inside the home. If you are seated at a kitchen or dining room table, make sure you are at least 6 feet away from the homeowner.
- Remember, many face-to-face interactions, like the approval process, can transition online. This may be through voice recordings, or email receipts and signatures. Proposals can also be filled out by the homeowner and mailed to your office.
- Encourage your team to change their clothing as soon as possible at the end of the day. Wash clothing, to help reduce exposure to others.
Plan for outliers
It is difficult to predict how to navigate all possible scenarios in our COVID-19 world. You may need to speak with local government, building, and safety officials for timelines on reviews, inspections, and permits.
With your team and homeowners, also discuss how you will adjust to any unforeseen circumstances, like weather, fire, or potential hazards. Prioritize the safety of the site, and the health of all nearby.
While the extensive list of safety precautions during COVID-19 are outside of our expertise, we encourage all businesses to seek guidance from professional and trusted national organizations. Updates and recommendations change quickly. It is important to overcommunicate with your team and homeowners. Creating these agile expectations helps ensure you, your team, and your customers remain safe during this challenging time.