It’s fair to say that COVID-19 has turned many businesses on their head, and even closed some. And reopening your business after a global pandemic isn’t as simple as just turning the key and starting the engine. It’s not a case of re-opening your physical or digital doors and letting the customers flow back in. Below are 8 tools businesses can use to safely reopen their doors. Technology is so helpful to safely reopen.
Put simply, it isn’t just business as usual. Even industries that haven’t taken the hard hits have to pivot and adjust. The world has changed, and so must your business. Businesses are adjusting to the new norm by making use of digital tools to keep their doors open, their customers happy and their employees safe. To help, we’ve curated a two-part list of the best-of-bunch digital solutions that you can use to adjust to the COVID era and beyond.
1. Anti-Bacterial Hardware
Here’s an unwelcome fact; your keyboard could be home to almost three times that of a public toilet seat. One study that took place across 100 offices in the US found that computer keyboards have up to 3,295 microbes a square inch and computer mice have 1,676 a square inch.
With this in mind, you may be pleased to know office-based businesses are now investing in keyboards and mice that have a (usually copper alloy-lined) antimicrobial film. The great thing about these handy little gems is that anti-microbial layers can kill the vast majority of germs. And of course, this reduces the possibility of transmission of germs, creating a safer workplace for your employees. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that copper alloys kill more than 99.9% of disease-causing bacteria within just two hours when cleaned regularly.
2. Contactless Payments to Reopen Safely
You may have noticed that before the COVID crisis, the world was slowly going cashless. COVID has sped this transition up, and that’s not a bad thing. Cash can carry viruses, protozoa, and bacteria. In fact, in the last several years NYU grad students found approximately 3,000 types of organisms, including bacteria linked to pneumonia, food poisoning, and staph infections, on 80 one-dollar bills. That might make you think the next time you reach for your pocket. Cash is out and contactless readers are in, and that’s something we should all be thankful for.
3. Digital Menu Boards
If you run a restaurant, you’ll know better than anyone that big changes have come into play regarding how you display your menu and process your orders. Before the COVID crisis, having a physical menu to pick up and pass around was all a part of the eating out experience…but not anymore. Digital menu boards are contactless which will help your restaurant to control the spread of infection.
There are a few other benefits too:
- You can display information surrounding COVID guidelines, and you can let your customers know what instructions they should be following.
- You can design your menus in a more attention-grabbing way that could boost your sales.
- Updating the signage is much more efficient as you do not have to print and distribute new menus, which saves costs.
With all physical contact being avoided, digital menu boards are becoming the new normal.
4. Instructional Digital Signage for Safe Reopening
COVID has forced businesses to adopt more complex instructions and guidelines for their customers to follow. Digital signage allows you to be constantly communicating with your customers and employees on your latest protocols and guidelines.
You are able to share clear, dynamic information in an easy-to-follow way. People’s eyes are more drawn to moving images than they are static video. Dynamic instructions are therefore much more effective at imparting important information.
In a time when the official guidelines and advice change all the time, the ability to change your instructions remotely will save you a serious amount of time, money, and effort. Digital signage can be used in restaurants, shopping malls, lobbies, schools, and movie theaters. They can tell people how much distance to give others, the best place to queue, where to wash your hands, and how to wear a mask correctly.
5. Contactless Access Controls
Previously, to get into toilets and meeting rooms, customers had to press an access button. These can, however, lead to harmful bacteria and viruses being left on the button.
Contactless sensors have infrared technology that will detect when your hand is 3 – 5 cm away from the door and will open in turn.
6. Antibacterial Door Handles
Door handles present bacteria with another opportunity to accumulate and jump from person to person. By attaching door handles and push plates with an anti-bacterial protector you can strip them of that chance. They are easy to use and come with a simple clip to attach to your existing door handles.
7. Meeting Room Signs
Ensuring that you can control the number of people in a room at any one time is essential to limiting transmission opportunities. By using meeting room signs, employees can know capacities and whether it’s safe to enter, reducing unnecessary person-to-person contact.
8. Virtual Tours to Safely Reopen
There are many businesses that rely on customers viewing buildings and seeing a space before they make a financial commitment. This could be an estate agent showing a potential tenant new property or a hotelier showing potential guests around a suite.
A combination of 3D cameras, 3D mapping, and 3D viewing software would allow a tenant to take a self-guided virtual viewing tour through potential properties at her or his own leisure. In fact, Matterport’s 3D cameras have seen a jump in sales of 620% since March 2020. But regardless of the application, it’s clear that virtual viewings will become the new norm in a post-COVID era.
Feeling clued up?
We’ve got 10 more super valuable technology solutions coming your way in Part 2 of this post (so many great ones, we just couldn’t fit them all in!)