Return to Work

May 22, 2020

For many of us it’s been a while since we have walked into our offices. As the country begins to open up there will be many new safety protocols that will be implemented. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers have the duty to provide a safe and healthful workplace. It’s important to listen to the recommendations of the CDC and your local governments to make sure you are complying with the proper reopening procedures. Here are our top 10 tips on returning to the office:

  1. Stagger your employees– There will be restrictions on the capacity of the workplace which means not everyone can return at once. Employers have the option to gradually bring back their staff in accordance with the law or they can create a schedule which allows for staggered returns on different days or times. At-risk employee should remain at home.
  2. Screen employees– This means taking temperatures and making sure your employees aren’t exhibiting any flu like symptoms. The days of coming to the office with a cold are over and employees who feel sick should work from home.
  3. Remove common touch products from the office and break rooms– To the extent possible, all common touch products such as paper goods and common area utilities should be removed or limited. This includes magazines in waiting rooms and business card displays. If you are still distributing paper goods in your office make sure they are from an automatic dispensing machine.
  4. Enact social distancing guidelines– Create rules that make sure employees are staying at least 6 feet apart. This might mean removing chairs in the break room or lobby and making sure employees aren’t in shared workspaces. If you do have a non-employee entering the office make sure they are not sitting in a crowded waiting area. Waiting in the car is an option or you can stagger the times non-employees are entering your office.
  5.  Limit non-employees in the work place– It is a lot harder to control non-employees who enter your office and have them abide by your guidelines. If possible, encourage non-employees to not come to your office space and continue remote communications.
  6. Wear masks in common space areas– If employees do have to be in close proximity to one another it is important everyone wear a mask to reduce risk of exposure.
  7. Implement stringent cleaning procedures– Make sure all common areas are being cleaned often. This includes doors, light switches, faucet handles, air conditioning controllers, etc. Put signs up in the office encouraging employees to wash hands often and remind of your new procedures. An automatic soap and hand sanitizing dispenser will also be useful in keeping your office virus free.
  8. Restrict non-essential travel– Employees who are traveling are at a greater risk for infection and can bring infections back home. Try and restrict non-essential travel and if an employee does have to travel make sure they are not in contact with other employees immediately upon return.
  9.  Continue remote services– Just because the offices are allowed to open doesn’t mean everyone needs to return to prior procedures. During the pandemic we have all learned new ways to offer services remotely and it can be advisable to continue some of those services to eliminate risk of exposure.
  10. Be mindful of your fellow co-workers– It’s important to note that everyone has been dealing with this pandemic differently and that is why it is important to be respectful of others. The rules in the office should err on the side of caution and might be more than what people are doing at home, but to be mindful of everyone’s different practices it is important to have these rules to make everyone feel comfortable and safe in the workplace.

We hope these tips help everyone return to work safely. As always, Glantzlaw is open and ready to assist if you have any legal questions.