Who is behind that mask?

In this new world order, every business must learn how to tell the good guys from the bad

A long, long time ago (about seven months) in a far different world, it was easy for companies to identify the bad guys. If someone entered a store wearing a mask, most employees would instinctively open the cash register and hand over its contents to the person standing before them. But that was then, and this is now.

In today’s COVID-19 environment, every organization must be schooled in how to handle not only someone wearing a mask but also those who don’t or won’t. Mask-less marauder types can cause similar or worse harm than someone pointing an actual weapon when they’re intent on making an ill-conceived public statement proclaiming their rights without regard to others or common sense.

For companies serving the public, masks have become nearly mandatory. The same applies to offices and public venues where people gather.

The dilemma now for organizations is how to expeditiously handle employees or customers who appear sans mask, violating a company’s cover protection policy. Before the virus is over, virtually every business will face this issue (pun intended).

While some communities have chosen to require face coverings in public, others have left the decision up to the operator or owner of the office or establishment. The largest retail chains in the country have made it easy. Signs posted at entrances eliminate any ambiguity: “No shirt, no shoes, no facemask, no entry.” For those wishing to enter, absent the appropriate covering, a paper mask is usually provided.

The quandary is in an office environment when employees or guests refuse to don the required protection. When this occurs, some organizations are more subtle than others. The most gratifying solution is to tell the non-compliant, “Don’t let the door hit you on the backside on the way out.” This declarative statement might make the conveyor of the policy feel good for the moment, but it doesn’t do much to build positive customer or employee relations. Some organizations have tried to use logic, but likely the refusenik already made the personal decision to stand their ground.

The best and least debatable method during this pandemic is for every company to have a written statement about face coverings, along with appropriate posted signage that has been thoroughly vetted by HR and legal counsel.

Fortunately, the growing tide is pro-facemask, if only for projecting an attitude of being safe rather than sorry for the possibility of spreading illness.

Logic dictates that in the grand scheme of things, what’s the big deal even if one believes the mask is only minimally effective? It gets down to just a reflection of respect for others.

Companies can make these coverings fun by recognizing those who wear the most creative, audacious, fashionable, or subtle mask. There will always be those who want to make something a cause célèbre, and that’s where that sign on the door says it best: no shirt, no shoes, no facemask, keep out.

For those of us old enough to remember the Lone Ranger (for younger readers, think Batman and Robin), we already know that good guys wear masks.

Visit Michael Feuer’s website www.TipsFromTheTop.info to learn more about his columns, watch videos and purchase his books, “The Benevolent Dictator” and “Tips From The Top.”