Small Essential Businesses: Protecting Employees and Clients From Corona Virus

Press Releases
March 23, 2020

by David Balkan

Balkan Sewer And Water Main is classified an ‘ESSENTIAL BUSINESS’.  If you are a small essential business, it is important that you remain operational. During the current Corona Virus crisis your services must remain in place as needed for the public. In order for this to be achieved, proper steps must be implemented to protect your Clients, and your employees as well. Additionally, in many instances your product must also be protected. As the Leader of your organization your foremost duty is to protect your people. Likewise, setting the example for proper behavior and safe practices is equally as vitally important.

COVID-19 Tips

As the CEO of NYC’s largest sewer and water service line company I am responsible for the health and well being of over 100 Team Members. Therefore, every single day my COO Andrea Hines, my Team, and myself implement new initiatives to limit exposure to the Corona Virus. Similar to being at war, the leader sets the tone, just as a General would. With that said, I thought it would be helpful to share the many initiatives we have undertaken to potentially help other business owners. Naturally, as the situation continues to develop, our response will as well. The point of this article is to share what we have done to date in the hope it is of help to other small essential businesses. Others are surely trying to cope with the same challenges we are facing.

Special Challenges Faced by Small Essential Businesses

Small businesses face challenges that major corporations do not. For one, we do not typically have large Human Resources Departments to handle a crisis, no less daily Human Resource challenges. Furthermore, a crisis typically presents financial challenges that further limit our resources. With that said, a small essential business has to carefully balance providing a vital service, protecting both their people and the public, and spending resources wisely. They must frequently also accomplish this feat with little assistance from outside resources. What follows are initiatives taken by the Balkan Team, which will undoubtedly be built on.

Protecting the Public and Employees from Corona Virus

There are basic initiatives we have implemented for all employees. Examples are daily reminders, emails, and updates. Then there are initiatives we have undertaken that can be broken down into 3 distinct categories. Protecting office and support staff, protecting field workers, and protecting the general public as well. Every small essential business will face their own unique challenges in these times. It is my hope that this is of assistance in some way.

Protecting Field Workers

  • Field Workers that have compromised immune systems or are at risk due to age factors have been furloughed
  • Every vehicle in our fleet is sanitized each and every day
  • All shared common spaces have either been closed, or sanitized at regular intervals during the day
  • All Clients are screened before our Team is sent to provide service
  • Social distancing is reinforced daily
  • Partitions have been placed to separate the expediting area
  • Hands free sanitizing stations have been placed near all common areas
  • N95 masks and various types of gloves are in stock and given out freely
  • All workers calling out are required to have medical clearance before returning to work
  • The daily work schedule is on public display via a large flat screen to avoid  workers congregating

Protecting Office Staff and Support Staff

  • Office staff is on a split shift, with no contact between shifts
  • Work at home has been implemented as deemed practical
  • There is a 30 minute window between shifts dedicated to sanitizing all areas
  • Field workers and the Public are no longer allowed in the office. All interaction is limited to phone, or through a partition in the lobby
  • Common areas, such as the break room have been deemed off-limits
  • Common “touch areas” are sanitized at regular intervals during the day
  • At risk individuals have been furloughed
  • Multiple areas of the office have been partitioned
  • Sanitizing stations and personal dispensers are in place and replaced as needed
  • Office or Support Staff calling out are required to have medical clearance before returning to work

Essential Businesses Must Protect the General Public as well

  • All Field Workers are screened if they have called out previously
  • A no-touch digital body infrared thermometer is on premises and in use
  • Social distancing is spoken about and emphasized each and every day

The Team To Trust: For Clients and our Employees as well

Being the leader in the NYC sewer and water main industry entails being a leader for our employees first and foremost. Just like any and all essential businesses we must lead by example. How you treat and value your employees is how they will in turn treat and value your clients. In these times, as never before in our lifetimes, being caring and devoted to our employees well being is vitally important.

Helpful COVID-19 Links:

small essential business

A company is only as strong and successful as its people. We at Balkan will continue to take every step necessary to protect our people, and provide the same service as our reputation has been built upon. We are devoted and committed to providing the same service, at the same price, seven days a week, and any time of day as we always have. For expert advice or service, contact Balkan any day of the week and at virtually any time of the day.

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

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