10 Tips for Bringing Employees Back to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic

10 Tips for Bringing Employees Back to the Office COVID - Pathway HR Solutions

COVID-19 drove many employers to implement emergency business continuity plans, such as teleworking.   While this is not a new workplace arrangement for some organizations, it is a vastly different way of doing business for others.

In the same way that employers found themselves scrambling to ensure a smooth transition from office to home, the shift back to the office presents new challenges.  How can it be done safely?  Should everyone return at once?  Should the office layout be modified?

While every workplace has unique circumstances in terms of function, logistics, and productivity needs, some solutions are universal.  Here are 10 things you should do as bring your employees back to work during COVID-19.

1. Know your state and local health department’s guidelines

This information changes frequently, so subscribe to alerts to ensure you have the most accurate information.

2.  Ask your team for suggestions

Getting different perspectives allows for ideas that you may otherwise overlook.

3.  Bring workers back in phases

Allowing employees whose duties are most suitable for remote work to continue working at home allows you to execute, evaluate, adjust your plan before bringing the whole team back together.

4.  Make housekeeping a priority

Clean often and hire professionals, if possible. Make cleaning supplies available for staff members who may want to clean their areas more frequently.

5.  Ensure adequate space for physical distancing.

If your current floorplan provides less than the recommended six feet between workers, consider cordoning off or rearranging workstations.  When these options are not possible, consider installing barriers or dividers.

6.  Restrict high-traffic common spaces

These areas encourage gathering, thus, increase risk of transmission of COVID-19. If you are not able to completely shut down areas, such as break rooms, consider removing furniture to limit capacity.  Also, consider staggering break times.

7.  Make masks a significant component of your plan

Provide face masks for customers, employees, and visitors, if needed.  Require:

  • Customers/clients and visitors to wear masks.
  • Employees who work with the public to wear masks.
  • Employees to wear masks while in common areas and while in close proximity to others.

8.  Assign workstations

If your organization previously utilized a hoteling or hot desking system, switch to an assigned seating plan.  This reduces the risk of transmitting the disease through surfaces.  It also provides you with a good start if an employee exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive, and contact tracing becomes necessary.

9.  Clearly communicate your plans to employees

If everyone is on the same page, the transition back to the office will be smoother.

10. Remain flexible

Nothing about this pandemic is normal and little is predictable.  Therefore, maintaining a high degree of flexibility is key to navigating our new way of doing business.

The Bottom Line 

We are all navigating this new way of doing business, but a little creativity and patience will go a long way.

Still need help creating a plan to bring your employees back to work while the coronavirus emergency is ongoing?  Give us a call.