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Returning to Work During and After COVID-19

MAY 13, 2020

The world we are currently living in is no doubt unchartered territory for everyone. Employers have had to rapidly change their work structure practically overnight, and employees are now being faced with the potential of returning to work in the coming days and weeks, when the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still clearly present. Whether your business is reopening on May 18th or you’re waiting to see how things unfold in the coming weeks and months, it’s important for all employers to have some level of communication preparing their employees with what the return-to-work may look like. 

As always, communication is key:

  • Provide clear justification for WHY the business is reopening;
  • Clearly communicate the safety precautions that are being taken to protect employees and the community (additional cleaning/sanitizing, keeping doors propped open to minimize touching the handles, staggering shifts, marking hallways/corridors as one-way, marking on floors spacing of 6’, installing plexiglass between workstations, staggering lunch breaks if there is a shared lunchroom, and reiterating to employees to stay home when sick, wash their hands regularly and minimize face touching); 
  • Update or create policies in the handbook that reiterate and plainly describe new expectations and/or responsibilities of employees (i.e., mask-wearing, paid leave, temperature checks). 

Employers should also prepare to answer questions from employees who are scared and reluctant to return to work or have complicating factors such as no childcare or underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk. Fear and anxiety are still running high for a lot of people, and returning to work may only add to it. Employers should be mindful and compassionate during a reopening and work with employees as much as possible to relieve some of the unknown and apprehension.

If you have any questions, please contact Bethany at bethany@ghmagency.com or by calling 207-873-5101. 

 

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