July 13, 2021
Consistency has been in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government guidance has gone back and forth on critical issues, including mask-wearing and social distancing. Individual states have made their own rules, or lack thereof, regarding COVID-19 restrictions.
Even some counties within the same state have enforced conflicting obligations and timetables.
Amid all this inconsistent guidance, how can a business decide on the best way to return to in-person work? In most cases, it will come down to employers weighing factors unique to each organization.
According to an Aon survey, 81% of companies only have tentative return-to-work dates, relying instead on hybrid work models or other arrangements. Without definitive guidance on the matter, employers have been left to determine their own paths forward. And that means answering several workplace questions, including:
- Should reopening be determined by local COVID-19 infection rates or some other metric?
- Should workers be given the option to work remotely?
- Should masks be required, even if there’s no local mask mandate?
- Should work hours be adjusted to allow for more cleaning?
- Should the building capacity be reduced?
- Should employees be required to be vaccinated before working in person?
Employers wishing to return to work will need to ask themselves these and other important questions before they can safely usher employees back.
“Many employees still fear returning to their workplace” said Tammy Spear, Director of Human Resources and Special Programs/Commercial Lines Manger. “Employers should have a clear plan and communication strategy on how employees will re-enter the workplace”.
For some, the idea of returning to the status quo has prompted them to simply quit, even when in well-paying positions. We recommend employers consider how employee receive plans for a return to work.
- Will the proposed rules cause a pushback?
- Is the business willing to lose some workers for the sake of maintaining certain standards?
- Is there a more creative approach for dealing with exigent circumstances?
Having answers to these types of questions will help provide a smooth transition back to the workplace.
Call us, we can help you work through the details.