You and your employees may feel anxious about returning to work after COVID-19. Your HR team can facilitate the transition by making certain changes to your workplace, company policies, and how you manage employee contact. Adhering to these seven tips will help you keep your workplace in-line with updated hygiene rules.
Health and safety should be your primary focus. You should have the workplace deep cleaned with high-grade germ-killing solutions. Common areas and individual workspaces should be sanitized each night after employees have left and multiple times during the day.
Your HR and management teams should explain to staff the importance of handwashing, sneezing into your elbow, and other good hygiene practices and they should lead by example. Provide employees with information about COVID-19 symptoms and tell them not to come into work if they feel ill. You can also make it easier for employees to follow hygiene practices by providing them with:
Hand soap and sanitizer
You will need to assess and adapt your company’s policies to fit best practices for the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most important things to update is your sick leave policy and review your health benefits. This should include provisions such as whether employees are allowed extra time off if they test positive for COVID-19, and if you are allowing time off for employees who are caring for a family member who is infected. You can find out more information from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
You should also change company policy about staff meetings. Because of the risk of coronavirus transmission, you should avoid having too many people too close together. Practicing social distancing will not only keep employees safe, it will also reduce their anxiety. Instruct your employers to only fill conference rooms to half capacity or to conduct meetings online. If you have room, change the layout of your workspace to allow employees more space. Encourage employees who can work from home to do so.
The stress of COVID-19 and the challenge of social distancing can be detrimental to employees’ mental health. You can help reduce feelings of isolation by launching social media groups and organizing online chats through Zoom or Facetime.
It is essential that, at this time, you set up a solid internal communications system. This will allow you to let all your employees know about when you are returning to work, how the return will proceed, your new policies, and any training that you are implementing. It will also provide a forum for employees to ask questions as they return to work.
It is a good idea to implement measures to screen returning employees as well as visitors, vendors, and customers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are permitted to ask certain questions related to a person’s health that would normally not be allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These include:
Making temperature checks
Asking screening questions about symptoms
Asking about exposure to COVID-19
Requiring a medical examination
Requiring a doctor’s note confirming fitness to return to work
A hybrid work model means allowing employees whose presence is not essential in the workplace to work from home if they want to. Remote work can have a positive impact on your employees because it makes them feel safe and comfortable, and it can also boost their productivity. Some of your employees may want to come back to work while others may choose to work from home for medical or other reasons. Maintaining flexibility can keep all employees happy.
COVID-19 has changed the way people think about all aspects of their lives. As the country beings to return to normal, keeping your employees informed and safe will reduce their anxiety about coronavirus and increase their loyalty to your company. Getting advice from a professional insurance broker can help you improve your employee benefits program during these post-coronavirus times.