By Lee Yarborough, President | Propel HR
“What if employees are too scared to return to work?”
“Should we take daily temperatures of our employees?”
“Working from home is not sustainable; how do I get my team back to the office?”
These are just a few questions that I have heard from business owners lately. There is so much confusion and so many varying messages coming from different sources. It is hard to know what to do.
There is an economic need to go back to business as usual, but employers need to consider health concerns as they reopen. Best practices should dictate when and how to return to work. It is important that we don’t just open the doors and resume as normal. There are many factors to consider, and above all you must PLAN in order to reopen responsibly.
- Monitor state and CDC guidelines – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides an informative tool with the latest reopening developments by state. Frequently check the CDC’s guidance for businesses concerning reopening and safety.
- Gain feedback from employees – Consider using a survey tool for your employees. It is important to understand how your team has adapted to working from home as well as their emotions about returning — from fear to excitement. Listening to your employees is critical, as this information will help you plan more effectively.
- Communicate – When co-workers can’t be together in the office, strong communication is essential. Daily emails, calls and virtual meetings keep production flowing and provide a necessary human connection for your work team. Keep the doors of communication open as plans are being made for reopening and beyond.
- Prepare facilities – Secure an adequate supply of cleaning products and implement new cleaning routines. Properly space employees throughout your workplace. If necessary, purchase personal protective equipment and consider requiring all employees to wear face masks as recommended by the CDC.
- Update policies – COVID-19 has brought about so many changes to businesses. Review your current employee handbook and update policies as necessary.
- Seek advice – Now is not the time to go it alone. Ask for help from your trusted advisors, such as your accountant, lawyer and Professional Employer Organization (PEO).
- Consider staggered reopening – To help balance employee health with business necessity, have employees return on a staggered schedule to start. You may decide to continue some jobs remotely indefinitely.
- Plan for a resurgence – Experts expect that after communities reopen, a resurgence could occur. As you plan your reopening, take the time to strategize the possibility of a return to remote working.
In January, we had never heard of COVID-19, and within a few short weeks, our world was turned upside down as stay-at-home orders were announced. Businesses quickly adapted to continue operations as best as possible. People embraced their entrepreneurial spirit and creatively came up with positive opportunities during a negative situation. I applaud businesses and individuals everywhere for pivoting and prevailing. We need to continue this spirit and take additional steps to plan for a healthy return.
For more expert HR insights, visit www.MyPropelPro.com/ubjblog.
About Propel HR
Propel HR is an IRS-certified PEO that has been a leading provider of human resources and payroll solutions for more than 20 years. Propel partners with small to midsize businesses to manage payroll, employee benefits, compliance and risks and other HR functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and reduces costs. For more information, visit www.propelhr.com.