As businesses around the globe transition their employees back to work on-site in the wake of COVID-19, we’re all concerned with making sure everyone stays safe and healthy as they’re returning to the workplace. Adjusting from working remotely or not working at all to reporting to an office every day presents a multitude of challenges. These can include how to safely operate your business as well as how to support your employees’ well-being.
While physical health and safety is everyone’s primary concern these days, it’s also important to recognize the emotional and psychological support that your employees may need during this time. The chaos of the world’s current events may have impacted your employees’ mental health, and you can reference our last blog for an explanation of several tools we have developed to help you support mental health in the workplace.
Here at Exodus HR, our PHR certified Human Resources specialists can help you navigate the health, safety, employment, and legal considerations that you may need to take as your business returns to in-person operations following COVID-19. As your employees are returning to the workplace, the transition may be far from simple. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of best practices for you to consider and implement in your workplace as necessary.
Educate Your Employees
Before bringing your employees back into the workplace, we recommend developing an employee communication plan and communicating it to your entire company. This plan should include everything that needs to be addressed—health and safety measures, new policies, cleaning and disinfection protocols, etc.—before returning to work. Notifying your employees of any new policies and requiring them to sign their acknowledgment of them may be in your best interest.
Provide Instructions on What to Do If An Employee Develops Symptoms
Although it may seem like common sense, you should ensure that your employees are aware that no one who is ill should come to work. Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 is important to ensure that people know when to stay home. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, and symptoms can include fever (any temperature at or above 100.4 F), a cough, and shortness of breath. If an employee develops symptoms, you should have a leave policy in mind to provide instructions to him or her on how to proceed or halt any pending work. Additionally, train your managers on how to support the employees who report to them if this occurs.
Sanitize Your Workplace
According to CDC guidelines, using an EPA-registered household disinfectant to sanitize desks and other high touch surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, and company phones is good practice. Wearing disposable gloves while disinfecting surfaces also helps minimize the number of germs that come in contact with the cleaner. Regular cleaning and sanitation helps limit the spread of germs and will help make your employees more comfortable in the workplace. Stocking up on appropriate disinfectant products for your employees or cleaning staff to use can aid in instituting habitual sanitation practices.
Physically Distance Your Workplace As Necessary
Depending on how your physical workplace is designed, you may need to make changes to it to comply with social distancing mandates and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The CDC has a variety of guidelines available for you to reference if the mandates apply to you and your business. In general, the rule of thumb has been to space workstations and access points six feet apart from each other to allow adequate space for people to move freely about without having to be near others.
In addition to the practices listed above, you may want to consider implementing temperature monitoring, wearing face masks, and more depending on your business type, industry, personal preferences, and mandates.
If you’re uncertain about how to best protect and support your employees with returning to the workplace, our team here for you. Exodus HR Group would be happy to help you alleviate distractions and focus on your overall business growth and strategies. We can partner with you in many ways, but all these ways revolve around your most valuable assets—your employees. We hope that the tips we shared today will help get you and your employees back to work safely and in maintaining a healthy work environment for the future.