BUSINESS MENTOR: The Realization of the ‘New Normal’ for Entrepreneurs

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By Armando “BUTZ” Bartolome

Have you adjusted to the “new normal”? What are the changes that you need to do to be able to adapt to our current situation? Has it been difficult? I ask you these questions because just like you, I am also adjusting and making sure that I keep myself and my family safe since there is still no cure or vaccine available to protect us from COVID19. And having said that, we all need to accept the “new normal” in order to be safe and healthy.

Indeed, we have all been torn between going back to our usual activities and just staying home and safe. The fact is, even if we wanted to just remain at home, most of the Filipinos will not be able to sustain the needs of their families. And to rely entirely on the help that the government may not be enough. Therefore, getting back to work is the best solution not only to help ourselves but also to help the economy to recover from the great loss for the past three months. It may take a few more months and probably years before the government can overcome the loss. And even with a heavy heart, we just need to make things work but to ensure that we are safe.

For the entrepreneurs, they may have rejoiced for being back at work, however, there are things that need to look into prior to getting back to full operation of the business. Additional overhead expenses are sure to be expected, however, they are unavoidable at this moment:

1. Considering that all workplaces are enclosed, there is a need to invest in a good quality air purifier. Did you know that there is more air pollution inside our homes and businesses than outside of them? One reason why the air is more polluted indoors is that there is less ventilation, thus trapping more pollutants such as dust that attract bacteria, viruses, and dust mites which can develop allergic reactions to individuals. Similarly, there may be dangerous gases, which when inhaled can cause serious health issues.

2. Facemasks will definitely be one of the much needed “accessories” these days. Some huge companies may offer them to their employees for free which could unload the burden from employees. However, entrepreneurs/business owners may advise their employees to use the washable facemasks so that it could be less expensive. Owning at least 5 in a week would probably suffice. My advice though is to change it at least once a day because it could harbor bacteria as you use it.

3. COVID19 Rapid testing may also be necessary. We know that some individuals that have been infected with the virus have never shown any symptoms, however, that does not mean that they could not infect others. To ensure that all employees are healthy, this test should be mandatory.

4. The need to use disinfectants and cleaning agents may be doubled or tripled. Business owners should assign someone who can always ensure that the whole workplace is disinfected at least every 30 minutes. This may sound like over the top, but we genuinely want to be safe and it is better than being sorry later on. There is a disinfecting system available, the foot-operated alcohol dispenser, wherein the alcohol dispenser can be placed on a platform linked to a step which will essentially help push out the alcohol from its container without the need of using your hands. Along with this, a good foot bath should not be overlooked. Make sure that the proper water and the disinfectant solution is made (5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water).

5. Considering that public transportation may not be back to the way it used to be, there would be more vehicles needed to be able to transport employees to their offices on time. The company may consider providing this for their employees.

6. As mentioned above, if public transportation becomes a problem, companies should consider housing their employees. They may offer a space within the office compound that would be used as their temporary shelter to avoid wasting time in traveling as well as being exposed to the virus from public places.

I can imagine how this would be difficult for all entrepreneurs, but to succeed, there must be a sacrifice done. And to those who persevere, a reward awaits. Let us just be optimistic that everything will all be alright sooner than we expect.