Return to Work Guide

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Return to work guide

We are returning to work— so now what? As business leaders and owners, there is so much to consider to ensure that we are providing a safe place for employees to return to. The checklist below provides guidance on areas that need attention:

Consider Addressing Employees With a Welcome Back to Work Email. You May Want to Include:

  • What we are doing to help keep our workplace safe and to support you- health protocols including masks, EAP program, work schedule, business plan, social distancing measures.
  • What we expect you to implement to help keep our workplace safe: not to come to work sick, proper handwashing, social distancing, and fewer in-person meetings.

Review and Update Current Sick Leave and PTO Policy

  • A minimal sick leave policy may discourage employees from taking a sick day and come into the office when they should not be around others. Consider expanding your sick leave policy to encourage them to stay home when sick.
  • If allowing more sick days is not possible, consider expanding your work from home policy which will keep employees working, and keep germs out of the workplace.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Employers should institute several levels of screening to ensure a safe workplace— self-screening, coworkers’ observations at work, and employer monitoring of symptoms.

  • Self-monitoring for fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or unusual fatigue. If this occurs, stay home until you are fever-free for 72 hours, other symptoms are gone, AND it has been 7 days since the first symptoms.
  • Coworkers should take note of symptoms and if noted, report the occurrence. The employee should immediately be sent home. Fellow employees with exposure should be informed of possible exposure.
  • Employer monitoring— Employers have the authority to set up a monitoring station at the entrance. Monitoring should be consistent among all employees.

Social Distancing in the Workplace

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Employees should avoid activities that would put you and/or others in close proximity and increase the risk of contamination.

If possible, change capacity and office layouts in the following areas:

  • Workstations – Install barriers, avoid facing desks towards each other, separate 6 feet apart if possible.
  • Breakrooms and Cafeterias – Encourage employees to bring lunch from home and use disposable utensils, plates, etc.
  • Bathrooms – Restrooms must stay sanitary, and doors should main open if possible.
  • Hallways, Entryways, and Exits – If possible, Entry & Exit Doors should remain open to avoid repeated contact.

Workplace Guidelines

  • Maintain 6 feet apart from other individuals
  • Supply employees with proper gloves and facemasks, especially if social distancing is not an option
  • Routinely disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • If possible, implement one-way walking paths
  • Respect others and maintain an understanding of one another’s’ issues.
  • If the timeclock requires touching by hands, provide sanitizing wipes, and employees must wipe down after touching.
  • Having policies in place for employers and employees to follow is important:
  • Self-Screening at home
  • Observation of symptoms by co-workers
  • Monitoring of symptoms (including fever) by the employee

Providing structure when returning to work will help ease your employees into the “new normal”. If you have any questions or need assistance with return to work, adjusting policies to conform to the way businesses must operate moving forward, or any other HR matter, feel free to contact us at 732-534-7844 or email us at Stay Well, Stay Safe!

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Cristina Amyot

Cristina Amyot, SPHR, the firm’s President, leads the HR Services Group. Ms. Amyot graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Rutgers University. She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and a Life, Accident, and Health Insurance License from the State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

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