Changes in business operations
Since many service industries involve in-person communication, companies in the industry have been making changes to the way they conduct business and offer their goods/services. To help businesses identify risk levels in workplace settings and determine any appropriate control measures to implement, the CDC released a document to be used as guidance in planning for a pandemic like COVID-19. The goal is to help businesses identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement.
Members of the service industry can still offer their essential services, but with some changes to their overall business operations. For example, the CDC recommends businesses develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan.
The first step in developing such a plan is to assess the level of risk associated with your industry. Do you have employees in customers’ homes? Do you have customers in-office on a regular basis? Take those high-risk situations and make changes that would lower the risk or omit the risk of infection. This can mean practicing social distancing, staggering work shifts, downsizing operations, delivering services remotely, and other exposure-reducing measures.
Business owners in the service industry should also explore options for conducting essential operations with a reduced workforce, including cross-training workers across different jobs in order to continue operations or deliver surge services.
Finally, businesses should plan for interrupted supply chain or delayed deliveries and adjust accordingly. This might mean diversifying their supply chains.
These CDC recommendations for business operations are leading the charge in providing guidance to the service industry so that they may still be operational during these times. It can be challenging for the service industry to amend business operations to more virtual communication or telework since so much of their work is in the field. But it is possible.
For example, as a fire protection company, Fire Systems, Inc., has been able to rework daily operations and use telecommunicating where possible to ensure continuation of service for their customers. A company like Fire Systems provides life-saving services that must be carried out on a regular basis. By changing the way their technicians service fire protection systems and interact with customers, they are ensuring the safety of the techs, customers, and buildings in which they protect. Others in the service industry like HVAC companies or plumbers are offering “no contact” service options where they can provide services at your home or business with no in-person contact. All payment, communication, etc. is done on the phone or online and all safety protective measures are taken while the tech is in the home/business.