Protecting your employees, assets, and property during COVID-19

Key takeaways:

  • Protect the health and safety of employees
  • Assess your business risks
  • Keep lines of communication open
  • Be adaptable 
  • Look at your finances
  • Consider a digital strategy

The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for nearly two years and it’s still going strong. With the pandemic affecting every area of life, businesses have had to make changes to accommodate the virus and its damage. 

Though the pandemic has created several challenges, businesses can still thrive if they protect themselves the right way. If you own a business, here are seven ways to protect it during this pandemic and future ones. 

Commercial insurance during pandemics

Unfortunately, most business insurance policies do not cover losses that result from pandemics like COVID-19. Your insurer might offer supplements or riders, however, so ask your commercial agent about protections you can add. 

What other steps can you take to protect your business? We explain. 

1. Protect your employees

Your number one consideration should be the health and safety of your employees. This is especially important if they are older or have health conditions that put them at higher risk of complications from COVID. 

Here are the top things to consider for keeping your employees safe:

  • Take steps to reduce transmission with physical distancing and well-fitted masks
  • Be clear about your COVID policies concerning masks and vaccinations
  • Stay abreast of health advisories from local, state, and national health agencies
  • Require employees to stay home if they’re sick or have cold/flu symptoms
  • Allow high-risk employees to work from home, if possible
  • Conduct frequent cleaning and sanitizing

2. Install or upgrade air cleaners and HVAC filters 

You can protect your employees by installing or upgrading air cleaners and HVAC filters in your building to prevent COVID and other virus particles from entering the air. These filters are most effective when they line the interior of windows and doorways; however, you can install them anywhere to protect employees against COVID exposure at work.

3. Assess risks to your operations

How will a pandemic affect your business operations? Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. For example, what will you do if you shut down your business for days or even weeks? Think about your risks and vulnerabilities such as:

  • What are the risks if you have to shut down?
  • What if you have a lot of employees out at one time?
  • What happens if an employee tests positive for COVID? 
  • What is the protocol for testing and returning to work?
  • What if supply chain problems affect your inventory?
  • What if a vendor or customer closes operations?
  • What if your customers are required to wear masks or be vaccinated?
  • What adjustments can you make to protect employees and customers?

Be sure to develop contingency plans for different scenarios. Avoid thinking only about the present, but think strategically for the long term. What will you do three months, six months, and one year out? What will you do next year? 

4. Keep the lines of communication open

If your business went remote at any point during the pandemic, you probably realized the importance of communication. Even if you’re back in the office full-time, it is still essential to communicate with your staff and customers, clients, and suppliers/vendors. Keep everyone informed about your operations and pandemic policies as they evolve.  

5. Be prepared to adapt

Businesses that adapt have the best chance of survival. Small businesses have already had to enact significant changes to their operations. Whether it’s through remote work, diversifying services or products, or cutting costs, there are ways to keep the ball rolling no matter what happens. 

6. Understand your financial picture

Assess your finances. Start by looking at your expenses versus profits. Review your accounts to determine your credit risks. Track your cash flow to see where you’re spending the most money. Are there ways to cut those costs? Now is the time to reduce non-critical expenditures. 

Find a way to include a financial safety net so that temporary shutdowns don’t put you out of business. You might also be able to secure a business line of credit if things slow down. 

7. Consider long-term digital strategies

You don’t have to be an e-commerce business to take advantage of the digital landscape. According to MasterCard, the “number of small businesses that ventured online each month tripled during the pandemic…” The numbers have stayed high even as parts of the economy reopened. 

Consider devoting financial resources to developing a personalized (and permanent) digital strategy. Invest now in learning more about search engine optimization (SEO), forming a solid content strategy, enhancing your content’s quality and frequency, creating more engaging social media content, devoting resources to digital advertising, and harnessing tools that optimize operations and communication. 

How to protect your business during a riot or demonstration 

In addition to the pandemic, some businesses have suffered physical and financial damages due to protests, riots, and demonstrations. Citizens have a right to protest peacefully but sometimes demonstrations get out of hand and become destructive. Business owners can take a proactive stance to protect their properties by doing several things. They include: 

  • Stay informed and up-to-date on community protests or demonstrations.
  • Reduce building weaknesses by installing adequate lighting, security cameras, and alarms and keep plywood boards on hand to board windows if necessary. 
  • Hire a security guard.
  • Close your store during protests.
  • Call the police if people are trespassing.
  • Take legal action if your business has been damaged.
  • Review your insurance policy to make sure it includes coverage for property damage due to protests.

Ask about insurance strategies to protect your business

The seven tips above will help protect your business’s bottom line no matter what happens. In addition to those strategies, it’s also essential to buy the right commercial insurance policies to protect your assets, employees, and property. 

Essential commercial policies include: 

  • General liability
  • Professional liability (Errors & Omissions insurance)
  • Commercial property
  • Business Owner’s Policy (Combines general liability and property insurance)
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Cyber liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Business interruption coverage
  • Product liability

If you have questions about business insurance to protect everything you’ve worked so hard to build, contact us. We will ensure you have the right coverage to protect your enterprise.