Tips for Creating Your Return to Work Action Plan

Most of the country is currently under some form of stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Trying to stay on top of the CDC’s guidelines as well as local and state government orders is proving to be quite challenging.

As you consider the possibility of reopening your office, what preparations need to be finalized prior to opening your doors to your employees and customers?

  1. Determine whether to reopen now or later.
    Closely review the state and local guidelines provided to you so you fully understand the risks involved in reopening. Will your reopen include a phased return, starting with a staggered schedule to adhere to proper social distancing guidelines?

  2. Create protocols to address employee logistical challenges.
    Do they have adequate childcare/senior care?  Do they have proper transportation?  Are they simply afraid to return to work at this time?  Will your protocols include the reconfiguration of work schedules to limit the number of employees physically present in the office at one time?  Will you implement work-from-home arrangements for positions where it is feasible for employees to do so?

  3. Create a Pandemic Response Team
    The purpose of this team will be to help develop and implement a Social Distancing Plan. This will help manage the potential spread of the virus after reopening.

  4. Modify and Thoroughly Disinfect the Office
    Follow procedures for social distancing which could include making changes to workspace configurations, daily cleaning, and regular handwashing.

  5. Establish Employee Screening Protocols and Policies – Coronavirus will not go away after reopening. It is important to have a system for screening potentially sick employees before they enter the office. Will this include daily temperature checks?

  6. Compile Safety Materials for Employees
    Provide resources on social distancing, hand washing, and surface disinfecting to maintain a healthy workplace.

  7. Finalize Reopening
    Review policies and procedures before reopening and check in with your employees. It is important to remain flexible during this period.
There will not be a one-size-fits-all solution.  Reopening procedures will be employer-specific as each office has different circumstances and needs.  It is important for your company to thoughtfully create a return to work action plan for it’s employees to keep everyone safe and healthy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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