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How to Manage a Safe Return to Work Protocol

During the COVID-19 pandemic, as much as 42 percent of the American workforce was working from home. As additional safety measures are introduced and vaccine distribution increases, many businesses are getting ready for a return to the office.

Are you a business owner trying to decide the best way to bring your employees back into the office? If so, how can you make sure you do it the right way? Here are a few tips to help create a safe and smart return to work protocol.

Communicate Clear Expectations

Although you may be eager to get employees back to the office, COVID-19 is still an issue and you can't afford to overlook the safety of your team.

Prepare detailed instructions that reflect a clear plan for how to begin the process of bringing employees back into the office. Try to also explain why it is that employees will be making a return, and what you as an employer will be doing to create a safer, more flexible environment. This will make your employees feel comfortable and confident in your decisions.

Be Sensitive to Health Concerns and Special Situations

Every employee is unique, and business owners should be sensitive of health concerns and other special situations.

Do you have an employee that needs to continue working from home because their children are still attending school remotely? Employees dreading the commute? Is a client-facing employee hesitant to return to the field?

It's worthwhile to speak to employees before they return. Ask them about what concerns they might have and how comfortable they feel about the change. Do your best to offer flexible solutions that best accommodate their responses, including hybrid workplace models and “work-from-anywhere” days.

Use Safety Precautions at Work

The safety precautions you take at work will help you protect your employees, customers, vendor partners, and more. If you are unsure how to implement safety standards in your workplace, partner with a professional or look to these Occupational Health and Safety Administration recommendations.

Examples of safe practices can include installing barriers in between cubicles or counters, making improvements to the building's ventilation, requiring a six-foot distance between employees, providing protective equipment such as masks and gloves, and offering hand sanitizer machines and disinfectant wipes.

You can also make improvements to your current time off policy and benefits offerings, so that employees feel more prepared if faced with a potential illness.

Return to Office Safely

The return to work may be a bit nerve-racking, but setting standards in your office will increase the chances that your business has a successful transition.

This process will teach you a lot about yourself and your employees as you work together to return safely.

Need professional help when reviewing your policies and procedures? Interested in other ways to protect your employees or co-workers? The SynchronyHR team is here for you. Reach out today to learn about our HR outsourcing services.



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