The amount of information surfacing almost daily surrounding COVID-19 can be daunting, especially for those running a business.
Trying to keep customers and employees safe while trying to conduct business has become a real change for many. But there is help available thanks to our ‘Chamber Check’ program.
This free and innovative program powered by Axonify and created in partnership with the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce offers valuable certification training to business owners and their employees when it comes to operating in a COVID-19 environment.
Through our Chamber Business Ready platform, Chamber Check participants are provided with a series of valuable resources, including videos and quizzes designed around various safety issues and potential scenarios that can arise while working in the midst of this pandemic.
For Patti Harris-Lindstrom, Office Manager of Towcon Holdings in Cambridge, receiving her Chamber Check certification proved to be a great way to collect additional knowledge.
“We’re trying to gather as much information as we possibly can because no one seems to know what this virus is all about,” she says. “We’re trying to take in as much information as we can to make informed decisions.”
As they work their way through the interactive and educational tools contained in the training, the knowledge the participants gain is designed to benefit them in the day-to-day operation of their businesses.
“We’ve been trying to keep on top of this as much as we possibly can and when this (Chamber Check) came out I decided to take it and see if there is anything we don’t already know,” says Patti, adding there was new information which proved beneficial and would gladly recommend others participate. “It’s very informative.”
Sara Chamberlin, Human Resources Manager at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, discovered the same and is pleased by the training provided.
“I was impressed that dealing with difficult customer service interactions was also part of the training, not just technical processes of wearing PPE,” she says. “This was very useful for our company.”
Stephanie Melo, Office Administrator/Health and Safety Co-ordinator at Sousa Concrete, also says the training she and members of her management office team received has been extremely helpful.
“One of the major things I learned was there is a difference between sanitation and disinfection,” she says, adding it only took her about an hour to complete the required modules.
The program can also be completed in short increments depending on work schedules, which is exactly what Sara did.
“It took me approximately two weeks as I did one to three modules a day,” she says.
But regardless of how participants approach it, the training they receive will strengthen the business community by helping create more consumer confidence.
“I knew it would be beneficial for the company to have since we take COVID-19 very serious,” says Stephanie, noting building consumer confidence is vital right now for all businesses. “It is very important since this is a very strange time we are living in.”
Sara agrees and has recommended that all her managers now complete the program.
“Any training program we can participate in, we will look into,” she says.
Providing as much support as possible to small businesses, especially now during COVID-19, was the key reason the Chambers developed Chamber Check.
“Being small businesses, it’s in our hands to do what we can to keep people safe, both those who work for us and those who enter our places of business,” said Cambridge Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Greg Durocher. “That’s the best defence we have towards keeping our businesses open.”
Upon completion of the training participants receive a ‘Chamber Check’ certificate indicating they have received extensive safety education to conduct business in our COVID-19 world, plus the business receives a decal to be placed in a location to let customers know that workplace offers a safe environment.
The program, developed in consultation with Region of Waterloo Public Health, is available to not just business owners but any number of their employees who receive an email confirming they have completed the training.
“We’re proud to partner with The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce on the Chamber Check program. As a Waterloo‐based business we’re dedicated to doing our part to keep our local residents safe,” said Carol Leaman, Founder and CEO of Axonify.
To get your Chamber Check training, visit www.chambercheck.ca
A proven, but not widely used technology, is giving one Cambridge business the opportunity to pivot its operation during the COVID-19 crisis.
Angus Audio, which provides a wide variety of technical services for theatre, music and corporate events, has shifted its focus in another direction. Under the banner of a new division called Angus Industrial, the company is focusing attention on the distribution of ultraviolet light disinfection systems suitable for a variety of workplaces, such as loading docks, production halls and offices.
Angus Industrial has joined forces with Luixbel, a Belgium-based company, to provide two disinfection systems designed for surface and air disinfection.
“It’s a pretty high science, but at the same time, they’ve made it easy to understand,” says Marshall Angus, noting much of the same technology his company uses to calculate beam fields for lighting up events comes into play. “You can pretty much kill off any surface virus or bacteria, based on a math equation.”
He says ultraviolet light technology has been around for a long time.
In fact, the germicidal properties of sunlight were first discovered in 1877. But it wasn’t until 1903 did Niels Fensen win a Nobel Prize for his use of ultraviolet light to combat tuberculosis, did the technology first come into play. A few years later, the first drinking water disinfection system using ultraviolet light began operating in France. After that, the technology changed little until tubular lamps were developed in the 1930s, and by the 1960s, UV disinfection was becoming more widely used in commercial applications.
“It’s pretty cool stuff,” says Marshall, noting that educating people on the properties of UV disinfection is key.
He says the systems they distribute, which range in price from $1,000 to $1,300, are ideal for a variety of applications, especially in a production line situation where they can be operated safely between shift changes and on average take about 15 to 20 minutes to ‘cleanse’ an area.
“They would just become part of the cleaning process you already have in place,” says Marshall.
One system, the B Direct II, uses light bulbs and must be operated without anyone in the room for safety reasons. The other system, B Air, can be operated safely with people in the room.
“The bulbs will only have to be changed once every couple of years,” says Marshall, adding each system comes with a variety of safety features, including motion sensors and alarms. “If someone comes into the room, the system will shut off.”
He says the systems could also help build consumer confidence in a company’s products.
“There’s stuff coming off trucks covered in plastic wrap and you don’t know where it’s been. You can put a couple of lights in your loading dock to clean the skeds before your employees even touch them,” says Marshall. “And if you buy something from a particular warehouse, you now know it’s guaranteed to be clean coming out because of the process they have in place.”
He says this is a product that should have already been place years ago, even before the pandemic.
“But there wasn’t a market call for it then,” says Marshall. “It’s a proven technology that has been used in the medical industry, however, the units in the medical field can cost at least $30,000 which makes them unattainable by small businesses.”
But learning to make changes in business can be necessary, which he says he has witnessed firsthand in his own industry since the arrival of COVID-19 has seen most of the events Angus Audio handles cancelled or postponed.
“There have been a few different things pop up,” says Marshall. “But we don’t think this industry is coming back probably before the summer of next year.”
To combat this, besides the UV disinfection systems, he says Angus Audio has also been providing studio space at its Turnbull Court headquarters for companies wishing to create more professional online productions and content.
“People are being really inundated with streaming content right now and a lot of it is not good quality because it’s off a web cam,” says Marshall, adding Angus Audio has the equipment and expertise to polish any project. “We can also interface the system with other platforms, like Hopin, and run it with multiple people.”
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