It often starts innocently enough: a few sniffles from your kids, some coughs around the office. Before you know it, you’re having to fend off a whole slew of symptoms. Flu season has arrived. The period from December to February is notorious for the wide spread of influenza among schools and workplaces.
But there’s no need to despair: despite its prevalence, the flu is preventable. For instance, active care for personal hygiene, such as handwashing, can prevent the onset of the illness and mitigate its spread by nearly 16 to 20%! As we celebrate Global Handwashing Day halfway into October, here are some tips on prepping your store for the flu season.
Deep Clean Your Store
Would you walk into a store with cobwebbed corners, sticky floors, musty odors, and dusty surfaces? The answer is a resounding “no”, and your customers no doubt feel the same.
A clean store will naturally attract more customers during the flu season as it promises health and hygiene. So, make it a point to deep clean your store around the end of fall. Follow up this effort with routine housekeeping practices.
Create charts for surface cleaning, decluttering, wiping down counters, mopping, etc. Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep your store in proper condition and help keep health hazards at bay.
Make a Statement About Safety
Build your store’s culture around health, well-being, and safety, and promote this message to both employees and customers.
An effective way of driving home this point is with strategically placed banners that list out the Dos and Don’ts of the flu season as well as healthy practices like handwashing, avoiding close contact, and covering your mouth and nose. Communicating actionable and practical pointers is more effective than even the catchiest of taglines.
Flu-Proof Your Floorplan
You don’t have to redo your store’s entire layout to gear up for the flu season. All you have to do is flu-proof the floorplan. For starters, you can set up hand sanitizer dispensers or wet wipes around high-touch, high-traffic areas for the convenience of your customers.
Furthermore, floor decals that guide shoppers around the store allows them to search for items on their own rather than seeking assistance from the staff.
You can even add signage along the aisles that share information on the products available at the store, which can address some of the frequently asked questions posed by shoppers.
Allow New Ways to Shop
Many stores are discovering new ways for their customers to shop. Several stores have renovated their websites to accept online orders and provide home delivery options. As an alternative to home delivery, you can also offer curbside pickup and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In Store) to reduce in-store time without losing revenue.
If you work in the essential services sector, such as food, groceries, or medicine, you can also launch a subscription-based model, which will cut down the frequent trips to your store and add to your customer’s convenience.
Encourage Safe Shopping Practices
In addition to the banners and signage that encourage safe shopping practices, you need to follow your own example when it comes to implementing safety.
Proper crowd management is one of the best ways to reduce density, which can also increase sales. Use floor decals to remind customers to maintain safe distances and avoid close contact while browsing the store.
Dedicate express and self-checkout counters for customers with a small number of items to minimize contact and exposure. While you’re at it, install sneeze guards at the counters to protect your employees.
Enforce Sick Leave Policies
Employees are a critical resource for any business. As such, communicate the measures followed by the company to protect their health and wellbeing during the flu season.
If you haven’t done so already, develop employee-friendly sick leave policies and encourage staff to take it and stay at home if they are unwell. You must also add a provision for employees who become sick at work to be separated from the healthy employees and relieved from their duties for immediate rest and treatment.
Having an absentee management plan will also prepare your business to maintain continuity even in the case of unexpected absences. This will allow managers to stay stress-free while granting sick leave.
These essential steps will help you prepare your store for flu season and keep your employees and customers healthy.