After what seems like one of the longest years in recent memory, small businesses up and down the UK are getting ready to reopen their doors and welcome staff and customers back.
While much of the economy has been in coronavirus lockdown for most of the past 12 months, restrictions are now starting to ease and we are emerging from the other side once and for all.
While it’s likely that things won’t get fully back to normal for some months yet, whole swathes of ‘non-essential’ businesses are being allowed to reopen in time for summer.
It’s welcome news for many businesses which have been placed into enforced hibernation. But, there is a lot to think about when it comes to reopening safely.
From social distancing measures to one-way systems, enhanced cleaning and hygiene rules, and designated entry and exit points, it’s important for small business to know how to comply with the latest guidelines.
So, here are a few thoughts on how to reopen your small business after lockdown and what you need to do to ensure staff and customer safety.
Small business reopening checklist
When it comes to reopening your small business safely after lockdown, there are many things to bear in mind.
The Government’s coronavirus hub is the most up-to-date source of information, where you can access the latest guidance and advice for your industry or sector.
However, more generally, there are several things to consider when it comes to opening your doors and welcoming staff and customers back to your business.
Making sure your workplace is COVID-secure is a vital first step. If you haven’t done this, you won’t be able to reopen.
Even though lockdown restrictions are slowly being rolled back, social distancing and other safety measures will be in place for some time yet.
So, it’s essential to work out your staffing levels and rotas in advance to avoid overcrowding, particularly if most of your team have been on furlough or working remotely for the past year.
There’s a careful balance to strike between having enough staff to deliver your usual levels of customer service and ensuring your premises don’t become too overcrowded.
It’s also important to ensure that your staff know the rules and follow them to the letter.
Enforcement will be in place for a while yet, and companies found breaching the rules may be subject to fines or action for non-compliance.
Some of the measures you can use to maintain social distancing include using floor markings and signage to remind people to keep a 2m distance, implementing one-way systems and designated entry and exit points.
Enabling your staff to work side-by-side rather than face-to-face and rotating between jobs and equipment can also help.
So can limiting the number of people who use common areas such as kitchens, toilets, restrooms and tea making facilities at any one time.
And when it comes to hygiene, make sure you offer hand sanitiser and cleaning stations to your customers and staff and increase the frequency of your cleaning activities, especially wiping down shared surfaces between uses.
Best ways to take payments after lockdown
If your business is getting ready to reopen after lockdown, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about how you take payments and whether that complies with the latest COVID guidelines and safety measures.
Chances are when your customers do eventually return, safety will be at the top of their list of priorities, and they will want reassurance that you are taking it seriously.
Fortunately, having a card machine allows you to offer safe and hygienic payments, so you can give your customers confidence and peace of mind.
If you operate a retail or customer-facing sales business and process a high volume of transactions throughout the day, then ensuring you have the right card payment technology in place is essential.
When it comes to taking card payments after lockdown, there are several different types of machine you can opt for.
Countertop card machines connect to your broadband or phone line and accept all major debit and credit cards, as well as mobile payment providers such as Apple Pay and PayPal. They enable you to take quick, easy and secure payments and are perfect checkouts, tills and reception desks.
Portable card machines do everything that countertop machines do, but they are wireless, which means you and your team can take payments from anywhere on your premises. They are ideal for larger retailers and hospitality and leisure venues.
And mobile – or ‘out and about’ – card terminals allow you to stay connected with your business and take payments from anywhere.
They are great for companies, sole traders and salespeople who work remotely and deliver services as client sites and venues.
Do I need to take contactless payments?
In a post-lockdown environment, more shoppers than ever will want to pay by card rather than with cash.
It has quickly become the safest and most hygienic way to pay. And with the contactless payment limit which currently stands at £45 set to increase to £100 later in the year, contactless payments will be more in demand than ever.
So, now is as good a time as any to invest in the payment card system you need to be able to offer contactless payments and help keep your customers safe.
Our range of countertop, portable and mobile PDQ terminals are built using the latest innovative technology to enable your business take quick and easy payments and improve the customer experience you offer.
They process quick and secure transactions to help you deliver flawless service.
We can set you up faster than any other card machine provider in Europe and help you move away from old systems for a smoother transition.
Whether you’re out and about, taking payments at a till or from customers around your premises, you can benefit from a reliable and secure card payment system that keeps your staff and customers safe.
How Payaro can help
We provide fast and secure card payment and EPOS solutions which use the latest technology to help your business grow – whatever sector you’re in – while making a positive impact.
We’ve made it our mission to work with like-minded customers to help them achieve their Corporate Social Responsibility goals and give something back with every payment they take.
Our ground-breaking technology allows our customers to make a donation of their choice to one of our designated community partners with every transaction.
It means your business can give back while you grow.
For a free consultation, so we can understand your business requirements and develop a secure payments solution that helps you reach your sales goals and your CSR objectives, get in touch today.