6 Survival Strategies For Businesses In The New Normal
Countless businesses went through a tough phase amidst the pandemic. Offices were closed, employees sent home, foot traffic dropped to zero, and revenues went plummeting.
While most companies pivoted with measures like remote work and e-commerce transition, some failed to make it through. Thankfully, the worst is over, and things are back on track in the new normal.
Some businesses continue to work remotely, while others are open to employees and customers. Whichever model you choose, you must prepare well for the new circumstances.
Following the reopening guidelines will set you on the right track, but it isn’t enough to be legally safe. Expect challenges as you may face several liabilities if you are not careful and prepared well.
Thankfully, you can protect your company from legal hassles by implementing a few measures. Here are some survival strategies to keep your organization legally safe and compliant in the new normal.
1. Know the legal risks
Running a business is fraught with legal risks as you may land into trouble for many reasons. You have to be ready for diverse legal threats, from partner disputes to vendor contract issues to client litigation and employee lawsuits.
But things get even more daunting in pandemic times as you may face negligence-based claims for COVID exposure from employees and customers.
The worst part is that you may have to pay massive compensation if the other party proves failure to take reasonable steps to curb on-site exposure. Besides exposure liability, you may also face employment and worker’s compensation litigation after reopening.
Many organizations have to lay off, furlough, or deduct the pay and benefits of employees during lockdowns. Some disgruntled employees may file lawsuits or even bring up false claims.
2. Stay informed
Knowing the risks for your business in the new normal is half the work. You have to implement measures to cover yourself against these risks. The best way to do it is by staying informed.
The federal, provincial, and local agencies gave several guidelines for Canadian businesses planning to reopen. These include the ones to keep your employees and customers safe when they return to your premises.
Even if you continue to work remotely, you will have to follow the applicable ones related to employee benefits. The tricky part is that these guidelines are constantly evolving, so you cannot take a set-and-forget approach to them. Keeping track of the latest updates and fine-tuning your strategy is the only way to be on the right side of the law.
3. Collaborate with a commercial lawyer
You may try your best to implement best practices and follow all guidelines to prevent problems with partners, employees, and customers. But mistakes happen, and things can go out of control. Seeking guidance from a legal expert doubles up your defense.
They can guide you about the state-specific rules and ensure you are a step ahead of all legal requirements. You must collaborate with a seasoned Edmonton commercial lawyer if running in the Edmonton area.
Having them show the way can prevent you from getting in trouble. Even if there’s a slip, they will be there to defend you. It is also a good idea to have them review your employer and vendor contracts at this stage.
4. Create a viable reopening plan
Whether you have already reopened or plan to do it soon, you must have a viable plan. The objective is to implement the relevant safety measures to ensure the well-being of everyone on-premises.
These include social distancing, screening procedures, and cleaning and sanitization practices. If something seems amiss, make adjustments sooner than later. The plan should be flexible enough to accommodate alterations as guidelines change down the line.
Besides the COVID-safety norms, you must also reassess the other measures to prevent mishaps like slip and fall incidents, worker injuries, and parking lot accidents on-premises. Remember to do your bit with the precautionary measures as they can save you from massive trouble and expense down the line.
5. Educate employees
Legal safety is not a responsibility of the business owner only, but every employee has a role to play. A team of educated and trained people is an asset for any organization. They can keep themselves safe from accidents, serve customers better, and prevent lawsuits for the business.
Not to mention, they are more productive and loyal. Ensure that every person on board is well-versed in COVID-19 policies and procedures and other safety practices on-premises. They must also know how to enforce the new rules, educate patrons on the new policies and manage any escalated matters.
Customers may not be willing to comply with norms like mask-wearing and social distancing. Trained employees can handle such situations better and reduce trouble and legal risk for your business.
6. Check your insurance policy
Checking your insurance policy should be a priority in the new normal. Although you may want to overlook the need for a policy upgrade, it is crucial. Review the current liability policies and get a clear idea about the scope of your coverage. You may not have a cover for the virus-related lawsuits right now.
Consult your insurance provider to get details about a fresh policy relevant to the present situation. You can also rely on the guidance of your business law attorney in this context. Having proper coverage gives you peace of mind and enables you to bear the burden of claims if they come at some point.
The new normal brings fresh hopes for businesses, but you cannot expect the comeback to be a smooth ride. Besides facing the challenges of reopening, you will have to brace for the legal risk that comes with the virus still around. Employees, visitors, and customers can catch the virus despite the best safety measures.
Likewise, you may err with the implementation of government guidelines. Moreover, the regular risks of client disputes, vendor contract breaches, and employee injuries continue to be there.
Safeguarding your company with these legal tips can make the journey less stressful. With these measures in place, you can focus more on getting your business on track instead of worrying about lawsuits.