Many businesses and commercial buildings have cautiously been reopening as the COVID-19 crisis lingers, and the key to keeping employees and customers safe is for everyone to follow rules that reduce the risks of incurring or spreading infection. Signs are the simple but effective reminders that keep all of us on track. If you are open and don’t have signage, you are inviting trouble.
A big challenge for businesses is to change ingrained behavior patterns. For all of our lives, we have crowded into elevators, shook hands or hugged people without thinking twice about it, and washed our hands only when we saw a need to do so. Suddenly, we are asking people to change life-long workplace habits. It takes constant reminders and reinforcement to break habits, and that is what signs do. It’s a low tech solution to a big problem, and it works.
Keep it simple
We recommend that you “keep it simple” in messaging. Don’t pack 10 messages on one sign. If an employee or customer can’t understand the sign at a glance, it’s too busy. One idea, one sign, is the rule.
We are all familiar with the near-universal recommendations to keep people safe: Wash hands frequently, allow six feet of social distancing, use touchless payment systems, limit the number of people on an elevator, cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze, and observe one-way rules for aisles. Mask requirements are controversial, and if you adopt that requirement, make it clear at the entrance so that your employees don’t have to risk a confrontation by calling out a violator.
In your face
We recommend a poster-size sign at the entrance to a building highlighting the six-foot rule.
Other signs may include:
- Signs on elevator doors limiting occupancy.
- Another sign inside the elevator should remind passengers to keep their distance, and we’ve even seen some buildings place little feet on the floor suggesting where to stand.
- For those too busy to wait for another elevator, be sure there is a sign on the stairwell entrance designating it as being for up or down traffic.
- Remind people to use hand sanitizer stations.
- Washing hands in the restroom should go without saying, but now is a good time to reinforce the message.
- Breakrooms may have signs at the doors limiting capacity, and tables should also have signs reminding people about social distancing.
- If possible, aisles in stores and warehouses should be one way, with signage. Signs pasted to the floor or carpet are effective, but be sure you are using signs that will stay in place and that don’t create a potential slip and fall hazard.
There are no government statutory requirements in Georgia for businesses to post COVID protection signs and that means business have a lot of flexibility. There always will be a few people who will flout the rules, but most of your employees and customers will appreciate your efforts to keep them safe.
Brenda Lee is a business development account executive at Signarama. She can be contacted at Brenda@sarbuford.com.