The challenges that face small business, and even big business, owners today could seem unsurmountable. The obvious starter is COVID-19 being an invisible threat to our lives and livelihood. A pandemic is something none of us have experienced before and after the initial shock and tremendous concern for our loved ones, we turned to education, prevention, and now our attention has shifted back to protecting our businesses, with an abundance of caution. The task presented of confronting one small business is a microcosm of the entire US, and the world’s economy and its uncertain path to recovery.
As an entrepreneur myself and Human Resources Professional, I wanted to explore and address what’s happening with the economics of today’s HR issues of helping businesses re-open while ensuring their employee’s safety — giving a new angle of insight into the American financial picture.
The economics of survival during COVID are something like 2 + 2 = 1. No matter how much you double your efforts in promotion or delivery, you still come-up short. Why? Because you and your employees are likely experiencing fear and worry, just by even having the thought of who could get sick next. Therefore, hesitation and slowed production creates pondering about what that means for you, your department, or your business as a whole.
Concurrently, your customers have the same uncertainties. Even worse, they realize there are those who still believe you can catch Coronavirus from a package delivery or a food container on a shelf, while we’ve been shown that you need to wear a mask walking through a restaurant but once you’ve been seated, the virus risk vanishes. I jest; however, the confusion is real. It is crucial that business owners control the narrative to restore American consumer confidence.
As with any problem, there is a solution and surprisingly, even one already approved by the CDC. They encourage businesses to return with a protocol for regularly testing employees. This course of action may be delayed from the viewpoint of most business owners who are suspect of the word ‘protocol’ and understandably cry out ‘I’m not a doctor’ and ‘what’s my liability?’ Protocol is defined in the field of medicine as: a plan for a scientific experiment or for medical treatment while in business the correct definition would be: a system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations, also called a process or procedure. With a well-defined strategy, a business owner or HR Manager can easily engineer a system to satisfy legal and employee comfort standards.
The way to immediately, safely get America opened for business again is by getting businesses to bring testing in house. Considering how COVID testing should be, could be, and is being rolled-out for businesses and HR Departments is fundamental to the future success and growth of now-struggling businesses and their investors.
Rapid Antibody Testing, which politically motivated candidates spoke about like it was something new and exciting, has actually been a stalwart solution since almost day one. Unfortunately, the credibility with American consumers was undermined early on due to not only the horribly low performance statistics, but worse, the fraudsters who have claimed ‘American Made’ while actually ordering all of the sperate elements from China and only assembling them here.
Coupled with a logical protocol, including reflexing to PCR Testing and appropriate quarantines, businesses can lessen the fear and create the assurances to bring back employees and customers confidently. The ripple effect created in just one office, store, or facility is reason enough to discover, listen, and learn about how testing can restore confidence, productivity and economic recovery for businesses and the American economy as a whole.
A simple protocol example: Oral Surgery Dental Practice
One of our clients has implemented two basic measures: testing staff and screening patients. They began on a Monday morning, before office hours, by doing the health survey on each of the staff to screen for any current symptoms, such as fever, trouble breathing, lack of smell or taste. Then, each participated in receiving a 15-minute Rapid Antibody Test to determine they did not have antibodies that were building against an infection – requiring quarantine and sent for PCR – or conversely had antibodies indicating a previous virus, now past. With these assurances, they performed a sanitization-level cleaning and posted a sign at the front desk informing patients that all of the personnel have tested negative. With proper notification, each patient has a survey and test performed as well, in a side office off reception, before being permitted to go back into the practice area. This ensures the safest path to maintain a COVID free environment for the health of the staff and patients.
The alternative is bleak. I know too many business owners who just didn’t have the composition to weather the storm. Most tried, to no avail. With the restrictions too overwhelming and the public consensus of fear and uncertainty, there were no promotional measures to attract business as usual traffic. Even before the pandemic, many small businesses struggled with the need to expand while being restrained by the costs of doing so and the pandemic has continued to stall any plans for future recovery.
Businesses need to begin testing their employees in-house, where possible, implementing a protocol to ensure the safety of each other and then promote those measures to their customer base to invite them back. Proactively addressing the unspoken fears of that clientele will raise confidence and trust in you and your brand again. That opens the door to boosting the economy. The ability for the consumer to not just say ‘we support local business’ and ‘we don’t want to lose them’ but to actually take action and show-back-up walking through your doors. This creates a domino effect and confidence is contagious. Definitely maintain social distancing, legal mask requirements and every precaution necessary, just don’t accept the ‘new normal’ being struggling or out-of-business. The U.S. Surgeon General suggests you follow the 3 W’s: wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands. I would venture to add a 4th W: Where’s your test? This alone could fuel the already begun recovery of the American economy and save many businesses in the process.
David Lee Jensen is the CEO of USA Rapid Test, which specializes in back to work protocols and distribute Rapid Antibody tests and Oral Rinse PCR tests proudly made in Ohio.
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