What HR Managers Need to Know About the Return to the Office

Stan Adams
Apr 9, 2021 6:47:41 AM
At the same COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more widely available in the U.S., recent polling suggests that as of March 30th, 25% of adults say they will refuse the vaccine, and another 5% of adults say they are unsure. Experts worry that vaccine refusal may put herd immunity and a safe return to normal at risk even with ramping up vaccination efforts. 

What does this all mean for returning employees to the workplace during and after the COVID-19 pandemic? While the details of each business's plan to return to the workplace will look different, here are six key issues HR managers need to keep in mind:

  1. Understand Employee SentimentBefore developing a return-to-work plan, employers should gauge employee sentiment around returning to the workplace during and after the pandemic. Conducting an anonymous survey to understand employee pain points and concerns can help inform a smoother transition back to the workplace. You can find an example of a COVID-19 Employee Return-to-Work Survey here.

  2. Workplace Safety
    Employees may have fears of returning to business as usual in the workplace. Putting safety measures in place and demonstrating that safety is a top priority will encourage your employees’ confidence that it is safe to return. These safety measures might include:
    - Updating ventilation system filters and adding portable HEPA fan/filter systems. 
    - Implementing employee health screening procedures. QuantaSTAT for Teams offers an easy-to-use platform to streamline this process and ensure compliance reporting.
    - Supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and hand sanitizer.
    - Putting in place physical distancing measures within the workplace.
    - Establishing protocols for customers and visitors to limit contact between employees and other visitors.

  3. Transparent Communication
    Your return-to-work plan will only work if there is clear communication between employers and employees. Communication should include making sure your employees understand when, why, and how they will be expected to return to the workplace. Additionally, communication should allow employees to communicate to employers any concerns and questions or if they are sick. You can download our Six Ways to Keep Your Employees Informed about COVID-19 Prevention Measures, Policies, and Procedures here.
  4. Develop A Return-To-Work Plan
    Returning to work requires more than flipping a light switch and bringing all employees back on the same day. When developing a return-to work-plan, there are some considerations for employers:
    - Phasing-in employees returning to work, creating a hybrid work schedule, or offering flexible work options to safely transition back into the workplace in phases.
    - Develop policies for employees who are unwilling or unable to return to work, including creating plans for employees in high-risk categories.
    - Determine arrival and screening procedures, possibly including a staggered arrival time.

  5. Policy Changes
    Business as usual is a thing of the past, and policies will likely need to be updated or created to reflect our new normal. Some policy examples include:
    - Staggering meal breaks to facilitate physical distancing.
    - Sick leave policies to encourage sick employees to stay home.
    - Limiting non-essential work travel both domestically and internationally.
    - Remote work policies.

  6. Business Continuity Plans
    The COVID-19 pandemic caught many employers unprepared to adapt to operating during a global health emergency. Now is the time to create and revise plans to prepare for future emergencies. Though we have come a long way during the pandemic, businesses should prepare for possible restrictions or interruptions caused by potential outbreaks.
About QuantaSTAT
QuantaSTAT is leading the way to a healthier tomorrow by creating transformative technology to feel and live safely, healthy, and with confidence at home, at work, at school, 24/7, 365. Our focus and commitment are to improve the lives of everyone through better HIPAA compliant medical response technology. The QuantaSTAT platform, powered by Relola, provides the ability to track real-time health, location, and status of patients and assets—anytime, anywhere, instantly, and securely. Empower your teams, employees, and individuals to act quickly to changing conditions daily, routinely, and in unique and emergency situations. To speak with Angela Williams or learn more, please go to www.QuantaSTAT.com or email Info@QuantaSTAT.com.

Learn more about how QuantaSTAT for Teams can help you protect your employees.

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