Returning to the workplace

We’re steering toward better days, and we’re still with you shoulder-to-shoulder as you work through the three-phase approach recommended by public health experts and President Trump to return America and you to business as usual.

Considerations for returning to the workplace

Your employees are anxious to come back to work to see coworkers, grab lunch and catch up with all the COVID-19 happenings and stories. It sounds great, but as an employer, you have a checklist that may not jive with jumping back into togetherness.

Employer transition checklist

  • If your company occupies leased facilities, does your property manager have restrictions or guidelines to returning to work in those facilities? Find out before you determine a return-to-work date.
  • Are there state or local regulations in place that could delay your employees from returning when you’d like them to?
  • Provide your employees advance notice of their expected return-to-work date, but be aware that employees with childcare or other COVID-related family responsibilities may not be available to return to the workplace on your planned date. They may need some ramp-up time to square away their family care requirements. What leeway and/or adjustments are you willing to make?

Prepare management members who have been on the front lines

Pay special attention to supervisors and managers who have been responsible for responding to employee questions and concerns during the pandemic.

  • Conduct training sessions before your workforce returns to update them on any new policies and protocols that will be in place and how to respond to employee concerns about them.
  • Emphasize the importance of active listening and two-way communication to quickly identify and resolve employee issues.
  • Stress to them the importance of proactively checking in with employees to ensure a positive environment and company culture.
  • Share timely updates with managers and supervisors on an ongoing basis regarding impacts of the pandemic with customers, supply chains and staffing.
  • Share positive stories about the successes your business and employees accomplish.

Prepare your employees for return-to-work status

It’s a good idea to hold a companywide or teamwide meeting via Zoom to let everyone know about your plans to reopen.

  • Begin by telling employees you’re available to discuss any topics individually, should any employee prefer.
  • Be prepared with dates and reinstatement plans:
    Will work be “business as usual?”
    Will new policies or protocols be in place?
  • What should employees expect when they return to work?
    Will they be required to acknowledge their general health condition with a Return to Work Protocol questionnaire, or other means?
    Will the company require, or allow, mitigation measures, such as temperature checks, wearing face masks, etc?
  • Provide hygiene information on steps taken to ensure the work environment is clean and safe for the employees’ return. Include plans on maintaining a safe environment and steps that will be taken if an employee receives a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Reiterate sick leave policies and reinforce requirements for employees who don’t feel well to remain home from work.
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