01 Aug Anyone Else Having a Hard Time Navigating Their Business Through COVID-19?
I find myself unmotivated and anxious A LOT. I have these occasional creative energy sparks, but generally, I am feeling lost and not very driven. Maybe I am more programmed than I thought! I like to trick myself into thinking I wouldn’t like structure, but the more this goes on, I surprisingly realize the contrary. I make a to-do list, block off time for work, and play, but the day never goes as planned. I feel like I am on plan Z before A even starts.
The decision of our school system to reopen or not is also weighing on my mind and emotions. How in the heck are we as working parents going to wear all these hats? While I feel advantaged not to have to go to the office every day, I am concerned if my kids are kept at home, I will not be able to be 100% present in my work. I will be distracted and torn between homeschooling my kids (which is a priority) and keeping my business afloat. I also worry about my staff, who will undoubtedly be in a similar situation but with a much more stressful environment, given that many of them must leave home to go to work. How can I help them? What can we do as business owners to ensure our staff is well both mentally and physically? We’ve changed our business model to ensure their health and well-being, but what about ensuring they make a fair living wage while caring for their children’s success simultaneously?
I have heard the word PIVOT way more than I care to count over the last several months. As a natural cleaning company, we have done things differently about our day-to-day operations. Our top priority has always been keeping our staff and clients safe from the virus. We immediately, without a mandate, implemented safety precautions to keep our staff from getting sick and our clients safe. Our new marketing and overall business strategy in our response to COVID have been working. We have not had any of our employees get sick and have not heard any of our clients suggest they are sick or exposed to COVID-19.
As a house, kitchen, and bathroom cleaning service, we’ve had to change our approach to cleaning as the FDA restricted the guidelines to reopen by using a stronger, chemical-based disinfectant (which we chose in the most chemical-free form). From the standpoint of touting our all-natural and organic cleaning techniques for the past decade or more, it’s been a hard pill to swallow. While 90% of our policies and procedures have not changed, it is hard to compromise some of our standards to meet the current pandemic. We’ve offered deep discounts to get some of our clients who discontinued service to come back and have educated them on our plan to keep them safe. We’ve been transparent and forthright in our daily activities, and with the precautions, we take to ensure our staff and clients are not exposed to the virus. We’ve also looked into expanding our commercial cleaning services to include different cleaning practices, such as fogging, to help commercial businesses navigate uncertainty. As we watch businesses open and then quickly close again, we saw the suffering of our neighbors. We wanted to do what we could to help them safely and effectively reopen without having to put our community at risk.
What is dry fogging, and does it work? Dry fogging is a relatively new decontamination technology that uses liquid disinfectant and compressed air as consumables. The dry fog’s ultrafine droplet size prevents it from easily falling onto surfaces, a desirable quality for space and area decontamination. Dry fog is non-toxic and very safe. Two chemicals are used when dry fogging, peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Both chemicals are EPA approved and have a flawless track record. The downside to fogging is that because it is so new, there is no scientific evidence to suggest this technique combats the fight against COVID-19.
According to the CDC, what does work with homes and businesses is routine cleaning of surfaces first using soap and water and then a disinfectant. Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt, and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on the level of use. High-touch surfaces include; tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. Recommended use of EPA-Registered household disinfectants can be found on the government website.
While we have not had any staff sick from COVID-19, we are prepared should it happen. Other businesses are doing the same. CDC recommends if someone in your building or facility becomes sick, the business should do the following; close off areas used by the person who is sick, open outside doors and windows, wait for 24 hours before you clean or disinfect, clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, vacuum the space if needed making sure the room or space does not have people in it (use a HEPA filter), wear disposable gloves while cleaning, temporarily turn off in-room or recirculated HVAC to avoid contamination of HVAC units, do not deactivate central HVAC systems as these provide better filtration and introduce outdoor air into the areas they serve.
Now more than ever, we have to come together to help combat this virus and stop its spread. South Carolina remains a hot spot, and our numbers continue to grow. The only way to get back to a “new normal” is to heed the FDA and CDC’s warnings with its recommendations of masks, hand washing, and avoiding large crowds and close contact. Until we all come together unanimously, things will not return to how they once were. Schools’ reopening depends largely on our response as a community. They have decided not to reopen until our numbers see a 14-day continuous decline. This is going to require a concerted effort on everyone’s part. I can’t understand the debate on mask-wearing any more than I can understand the debate over wearing a seatbelt, shoes, shirts, no service, etc.