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How to run your business during COVID-19

Going back to work

As restrictions continue to lift and loosen, you may be thinking about reopening your doors. If you have workers returning to the job site, we have a few suggestions for keeping them safe.

  • Observe the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on hand-washing and sanitizing. Post signs around the workplace, reminding employees to wash frequently. Encourage employees to wear a face mask at all times, as feasible.
  • Sanitize everything, including surfaces, door handles, and commonly-used tools like keyboards, pens, or even card readers. The CDC recommends starting with soap and water, and following up with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
  • Keep a safe distance—COVID-19 can be spread through saliva and mucus carried in coughs and sneezes. Experts recommend maintaining a 6-foot (2-meter) distance between yourself and others, to reduce the risk of contamination. Office workers may want to consider increasing the distance between desks or leaving desks between workers empty.
  • Limit the number of employees in your physical workplace to maintain the appropriate distance between workers. Consider bringing employees back in waves rather than all at once. Stagger shifts to limit close employee contact.
  • Rethink common areas. Remove shared seating areas, reduce shared objects, like coffee creamer containers and other breakroom staples, and leave doors and windows open to improve ventilation.
  • Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices. Ensure sick leave policies are consistent with public health guidance.
Reopening your business

Businesses preparing to reopen to the public may need to make some long-term changes to standard practices and procedures. These changes may help keep employees and customers safe.

  • Follow all CDC recommendations for safely reopening your business.
  • Implement physical barriers such as partitions to increase the physical space between employees and customers. Use signs or tape marks on the floor when physical barriers aren’t possible.
  • Adjust business practices to reduce close contact with customers. Provide drive-through service, online shopping, curbside pickup, and delivery options when possible.
  • Move your credit card reader further away from the cashier to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier. Use plexiglass shields at checkout counters.
  • Limit access to common areas where customers might congregate. Restaurant owners may want to rethink their dining room layout by moving tables further apart and reducing the number of diners eating in.
  • Provide sanitizing stations for customer use as they enter and exit your establishment. Encourage employees to use no-contact methods of greeting and helping customers.
Best practices for remote work
Many businesses have issued work-from-home policies over the past several months. For many, adapting to a new “normal” means adopting remote work so employees slow down the virus’ spread. Here are a few tips for a seamless transition to a productive and happy remote workforce:  
  • Make sure employees have the tools and equipment they need. This includes instant messaging apps, video conferencing tools, and reliable internet access. Many also need a computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
  • Encourage employees to designate a workspace in their home. Separating work from life helps employees focus and stay organized throughout the day.
  • Clearly communicate remote team expectations. Employees should know when they’re expected to be working, how to communicate availability, and which meetings they’re expected to attend virtually.
  • Take precautions to keep your business data and your employees safe. Avoid using public networks. Work in a private space like a home office rather than a coffee shop or co-working space.
  • Boost employee morale. Working remotely can leave employees feeling disconnected from teams and co-workers. Schedule and prioritize virtual hangouts, encourage employee interaction through virtual challenges, and find new ways to team build.
Tips for safe travel

The simplest way to lower the risk of infection and contamination is to restrict all non-essential business travel. For unavoidable business trips, here are a few tips for keeping yourself and everyone else safe.

  • Travel wisely: Do not travel to cities with known COVID-19 outbreaks, or to states in a declared State of Emergency.
  • Avoid contact after traveling: The CDC recommends that all persons who might’ve come into contact with an infected person avoid contact with others for at least 14 days. Monitor your temperature for those 14 days to ensure good health before returning to work.
  • Safeguard others: Upon return, stay away from the elderly, individuals with compromised immune systems, and people with chronic or severe health conditions.
  • Rethink public transit: Consider your transportation options. Is there a way to minimize the number of people you encounter at close quarters when you travel? Sanitize after touching door handles or other common surfaces.
  • Keep a safe distance: The CDC recommends people keep at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
Suggestions for virtual events

The CDC has the most up-to-date recommendations on gatherings. Here are a few tips should you decide to move forward with a virtual event:

    • Mix in multimedia. When hosting a virtual conference, it helps to keep participants engaged with periodic challenges and opportunities to participate. And social media provides an excellent avenue for getting involved from any location.
    • Put dynamic speakers on camera. A person doesn’t have to be in the room to command a presence, but they do have to feel comfortable talking on camera. Try to book speakers with experience being on camera, or ask for a recorded sample before booking them to speak.
    • Pre-record when possible. It’s less fun than a live recording, but pre-recording can help minimize the risk of technology glitches mid-talk. If pre-recording isn’t an option, try a tool, like Facebook Live, that can accommodate more traffic at once. Just be sure the speaker has a strong internet connection first.
    • Create conversation spaces. One of the best parts of attending a conference is networking. Give attendees the opportunity to connect by inviting them to a messaging platform like Slack or Teams. Set up channels inside those tools, based around topics of discussion.
Stay prepared

If your business financials feel unstable, you’re not alone. Here are some ways you can minimize financial losses now and in the future:

    • Build out a business continuity plan: Prepare for the future by identifying potential business struggles and worst case scenarios. Finalize a plan for dealing with those problems before they arise so you can move forward with speed and confidence.
    • Build a supply continuity plan: This plan focuses on getting all the goods and resources you need from alternative sources, should a vendor cease production.
    • Create a communication strategy: As you prepare to reopen, it’s important to communicate clearly with your employees, customers, and investors. Create a chain of command so messaging goes through the proper channels.
    • Embrace virtual and e-commerce options: If your business relies on face-to-face contact or in-store purchasing, it’s time to explore a new “normal.” Consider virtual meeting rooms for consults and services and online retail spaces for goods.

QuickBooks Town Hall Series

QuickBooks Town Hall Series

Business and political leaders discuss the state of small businesses in our new online business forum. Before each webinar, you can submit questions online. Our guest speakers—as well as Intuit business leaders—will respond live in this unique virtual forum.

Town Hall Series

Navigating the Road Ahead

Experts from the SBA and ASBDC join Intuit business leaders to discuss some of the most pressing issues for small business owners today as they navigate the long road to recovery.

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Comprehensive guides for business owners

How Intuit is supporting businesses facing uncertainty

Intuit Aid Assist connects you with small business relief programs

The U.S. government is offering billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief for small businesses, freelancers, and gig workers. Intuit Aid Assist—a free service for everyone—helps you understand different business relief programs.
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Intuit Aid Assist connects you with small business relief programs
Intuit Aid Assist connects you with small business relief programs
Intuit Aid Assist connects you with small business relief programs

The Small Business Relief Initiative

Join us as we combine forces to support small businesses across the country. Intuit QuickBooks is seeding this initiative with up to $1 million through a fund and employee-directed contributions.*

Small business owner?

Organize a GoFundMe

Friend of a small business?

Support a fundraiser

Small business owner?

Organize a GoFundMe

Friend of a small business?

Support a fundraiser

*Intuit has pledged up to $500k for its employees to direct to small business fundraisers of their choice. Intuit has also donated $500k to the Small Business Relief Fund, which you can learn about here.

This content is for information purposes only, and information provided should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Additional information and exceptions may apply. Applicable laws may vary by state or locality. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit Inc. does it have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit Inc. cannot warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate, nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.