As regions in the US begin to open up again and enter into this uncharted territory of post-pandemic life, there are many questions and even fewer answers about returning to work. As a business owner, there are obvious concerns about keeping your employees safe and helping them feel comfortable. As employees, we want to do our jobs and feel safe while doing them. I think we can all agree; we are all figuring this out as we go along.
The CDC has sent out these guidelines for returning to work (and back into public in general). These instructions are pretty much what we learned in Kindergarten; wash your hands often, cough into your elbow, stay home if you are sick, and don’t invade other people’s personal space.
Here are a few tips and options we are using at Reach and a few we learned from others.
6 Six Tips for Business Owners
A good business owner knows their business is only as good as the employees that work there.
Taking care of your employees, and making them feel safe and comfortable is not only the right thing to do, but it will also help your business! It’s a WIN-WIN situation!!
1. Deep Clean
Before asking your employees to return to work, deep clean and sanitize the workplace. Don’t stop there, though; continually cleaning and disinfecting will halt the spread of COVID-19 and help your employees feel comfortable at work.
2. Provide Information
Have a quick meeting (6 feet apart, of course), place signs, and send an email, whichever works best for your business situation. Use these to remind people to wash their hands, practice social distancing, and wear masks.
3. Provide Resources
Provide hand sanitizer and masks to customers and employees.
4. Working Accommodations
If possible, continue to provide opportunities for your employees to work from home, especially for those not comfortable coming back or who have any underlying health issues that make them more at risk for COVID-19.
That may not always be possible, so talk and work with them to find a happy and safe compromise.
5. Revisit Policy and Procedures
Covid-19 has forever changed how a lot of things are done.
Now would be a good time to revisit your company policies and procedures. Make any changes and updates that would fit your company, your employees, and your customers. These changes could include sick leave options, telecommuting, how and why meetings are held, and customer interactions.
6. Rearrange the Work Area
If applicable, rearrange your workspace to give everyone the recommended 6 feet of space around them. Rearranging will go a long way to helping others feel comfortable at work.
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6 Tips for the Employee
Returning to work may be something you have been looking forward to doing since week one of quarantine. It’s also possible that you have found telecommuting had been an excellent fit for you and your productivity. Either way, when the time comes to head back into the office, feeling safe and comfortable while working is vital.
1. Know the New Office Protocols
Be sure and kindly ask what protocols have been put in place to keep everyone healthy.
2. Be Clean
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you first arrive at work before you touch your computer, phone, desk, or whatever! This is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread.
3. Use your face mask.
Each state is different, but employers are not always required to provide any PPE. As a side note, I like to know where the face mask I am using has been 😉
Are you uncomfortable with the protocols that have been implemented (or haven’t been)? Communicate with your higher. Tell them your concerns, worries, and some possible solutions.
5. Stay Home When Sick
If you are sick (COVID or anything else), STAY HOME.
6. Inform Coworkers about Health Issues
Communication with your boss about any underlying health issues you have or someone you live with is critical. Work together to find the best possible solution.
None of us are experts in living and working with COVID-19. We are literally learning as we go, what doesn’t, and how to make changes. If both employer and employee communicate their expectations with one another, there will be no doubt we can conquer this new world together!
Let us know what your business is doing, what works, and what didn’t work. What tips and tricks could you share with us?