Travelers maps out 'PATH' to reopening for businesses after shutdowns

Travelers maps out 'PATH' to reopening for businesses after shutdowns | Insurance Business

Travelers maps out

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Canada continue to fall as provinces move into the next phases of reopening businesses.

Read more: Businesses encounter new risk landscape as they reopen their doors

For the many businesses still in the planning stages of reopening, and the insurance brokers who are guiding them through this new normal, Travelers has outlined a ‘PATH’ to recovery – a useful acronym for the steps that business leaders can take during this time.

“A lot of the resources that we’ve been assembling [explain] ‘what can do you do to minimize the risk to your employees or your customers and patrons?’” said Scott Humphrey (pictured), second vice president of risk control at Travelers.

The first step that businesses should take is ‘Plan,’ which involves figuring out what leaders need to do to safely reopen and protecting employees as well as patrons. This means determining what changes need to take place within the business’s physical workspaces, how to implement social distancing, what protective equipment, such as face shields, need to be made available, and planning all that out before businesses can take the next step, which is to ‘Act.’

After coming out with a map for reopening, business leaders should act and execute on those physical and/or administrative changes. Humphrey points to how Travelers has acted on its plans during this time.

Read more: Zurich announces series to help employees transition back to workplace

“We physically social distanced and we had as many people as possible work from home, so you’re physically eliminating exposure or reducing exposure by not having people interact with each other,” he explained. “You can accomplish something similar with social distancing and with certain barriers or screens that would protect people.”

There are also administrative steps, including how to communicate any changes to visitors or staff. One example might be constructing traffic patterns inside of a facility via placing arrows on the floor that directs traffic to flow in one direction, thereby minimizing interactions between patrons or employees. Another example would be grocery stores spacing out people waiting in line with tape on the floor to indicate what a one- or two-metre distance looks like.

The next step is to ‘Train’ by providing guidance and communications that inform customers and employees exactly what business leaders expect of them.

“Those markings on the floor or when you wait in the queue at a checkout, you’re teaching and telling people how to safely distance. Maybe you also have a sign at the entrance of your door that says ‘we’ve limited the capacity to X amount of people’ or ‘we expect face coverings when you enter this facility,’” said Humphrey.

Finally, businesses need to consider ‘Health,’ which involves promoting and enabling strong health and hygiene practices in the workplace. To keep employees and customers safe, businesses can encourage hand washing and face coverings, as well as potentially introducing health and wellness checks so that if employees or patrons aren’t feeling well, they know not to come into the physical space of the business.

While the pandemic might have caught many governments, businesses, and individuals off guard when it started to spread, “there is certainly a more thoughtful approach to how to reopen your business” taking place now, noted Humphrey, seen through Travelers’ resources on this topic as well as the wealth of other information to guide businesses into the new normal.