When local officials ordered a stay-at-home order for Springfield, Missouri, the city joined other cities and counties across the U.S. that are being asked to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses are under orders to take specific actions and refrain from others to flatten the curve of the pandemic.
When local officials ordered a stay-at-home order for Springfield, Missouri, the city joined other cities and counties across the U.S. that are being asked to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses are under orders to take specific actions and refrain from others to flatten the curve of the pandemic. But what does it all mean to you as a business leader? What can you do, what can’t you do, and how do you need to conduct business now?
Will the Shelter-in-Place Order Affect Your Business?
So, what is a shelter-in-place order and which businesses does it affect? Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) has explained to their area’s residents that, while stay-at-home orders and shelter-in-place orders are words that may have carried slightly different meanings in the past, they’re now being used virtually interchangeably now. So, what are they? These are government orders that require individuals to stay in their homes except for essential activities. These orders also require companies to make many adjustments to the way they do business.
The bottom line is that almost every business is affected by the order. However, not all businesses are affected in the same ways. Essential Businesses have one set of rules, and Non-Essential Businesses must follow another set of requirements. There are also strict guidelines that apply to all businesses.
While the guidelines may differ from place to place, the following are the details of the Springfield, Missouri Stay-at-Home order signed by Greene County Executives.
What Are Essential Businesses?
Essential Businesses can be profit, non-profit, or educational. These are the businesses that provide goods and services for basic needs like healthcare, safety, food, and shelter, to name a few. Included are any businesses that offer something to enable Essential Activities like going to the doctor, getting medications, getting food and household products, or caring for a family member.
Also included in this list are businesses that provide goods and services to keep Essential Businesses functioning. As a company that makes it possible for Essential Businesses like hospitals, legal services, and transportation companies to do their essential work, JMARK is also considered an Essential Business.
How Do Essential Businesses Conduct Work?
Essential Businesses are permitted to continue to have face-to-face operations. They can usually have ten or more people in a single room or workspace. However, they must follow social distancing guidelines.
Social distancing requirements include:
- Maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between people
- Washing hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds each time, using soap and water OR using hand sanitizer
- Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces
- Not shaking hands
Essential Businesses must also post signs to remind people at their facility and entering their facility about the rules.
Importantly, Essential Businesses may only engage in the part of the work that is essential. Other aspects of the work that don’t contribute to basic needs or the services that support them would need to be stopped or done by remote workers.
So, even if your company is an Essential Business, some or most of your staff may need to work remotely while others might be able to do their work within your regular place of business.
What Are Non-Essential Businesses?
A Non-Essential Business is any business that is not considered an Essential Business according to the rules above. For example, grocery stores are Essential Businesses, but gyms are not.
How Do Non-Essential Businesses Conduct Work?
Non-Essential Businesses must stop regular in-person operations immediately. Workers are required to work from home rather than going into the office.
If your business is considered a non-essential one, it’s okay for you to do the activities needed for Minimum Basic Operations. These activities are those that are necessary to:
- Preserve the value of the company’s inventory and facilities
- Keep payroll and benefits going
- Ensure security
- Facilitate workers to work from home
That last minimum basic operations activity on the list is a critical one right now. If yours is a Non-Essential Business, then you’ll need to mobilize a remote workforce quickly. You will likely need to have face-to-face operations to set up your technology for remote work to do that.
Whenever you do have face-to-face interactions for these Minimum Basic Operations, you will need to follow the same social distancing, handwashing, and other precautions as Essential Businesses do to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The good news is that you can take care of many of these operations without getting in close contact with another person. JMARK can assist you with remote work technology and services via videoconferencing or by phone. We can answer questions and offer recommendations. We also have a comprehensive resource page dedicated to COVID-19 issues, which includes many resources, including templates, policies, checklists, and much more
Non-essential businesses – you can still do anything you usually do, as long as you can do it from home.
Working from Home
If your company is a Non-Essential Business or even an essential business, your people are probably going to need to work from home. And working from home is a unique challenge.
You start by setting up your team for success. Your employees will need the technology necessary to do their usual jobs. You have a choice of letting them use company devices or allowing them to use their laptops, desktops, and other devices. If they use their own devices, they’ll need advanced security tools to keep your company data safe.
The technology tools you provide your remote staff will have a significant impact on how productive and efficient they will be. The right technology tools will make it possible for them to collaborate as teams to bring the same high-quality results as if they were working together in the same room.
Some things you can do to get on the right track as you rapidly move to a remote workforce include:
- Developing a strategy for remote work.
- Making a detailed plan that includes how you’ll work, communicate, and carry out each business operation from home.
- Getting tips on working from home from another company that has experience with remote work.
- Learning about the technology tools, you’ll need to keep your business healthy.
- Working with your MSP to put all the technology solutions in place properly.
Getting Support Services
At JMARK, we are dedicated to helping businesses thrive in Springfield and around the country. During this difficult period, we are committed to providing the services needed to help companies make the quick transition to a remote workforce that’s needed to get through this crisis and beyond. Call us anytime at 844-44-JMARK, send us an email at [email protected], or reach us through our Contact Us page. We welcome any question you have about I.T. and remote work and stand ready to assist you throughout this time.