Re-Entry: what does it really mean?

· by Kristin Whitehead

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How will your organization tackle re-entry?

Since March, a large portion of the country and even the world has been working differently than they ever have. Employees are learning to work from home, some are being furloughed, while other businesses are functioning as normal.

The last several months have been heavily focused on COVID-19 avoidance and protocols for handling positive cases.  Now the world is looking to make a comeback and the new focus is on returning to normal – whatever this “new normal” may be.

In looking towards workplace re-entry, there are certain factors that all employers should address:

Returning to the Office or Teleworking?

Many organizations have changed the way that they have been running their operations over the last several months. Leaders are now needing to assess what returning to work really means. Can you continue to operate your business in a mostly remote work strategy and what does that mean for your organization? Should you consider returning as partial workday or rotating workdays first? How do you “lead” your organization back into the office? In returning to the office how do you tackle those tough issues, such as fear of returning, being comfortable working from home, possible childcare issues, requiring PPE – such as masks, gloves, etc.? How do you handle employee morale and increased employee stress for those returning to the office?  Do you have resources for associates – such as an EAP program?

Establishing a Disinfection Protocol

How do you keep your associates safe when they return to work? Many organizations are increasing their cleaning and disinfecting procedures as well as ensuring that all associates returning to work have the appropriate products (i.e., hand sanitizer, disinfecting supplies) for their workspaces.

Maintaining Social Distancing

How do you ensure that your workspaces are correctly engineered to ensure that social distancing is possible? Review your current workspace layout – what can you change? Can you move associates to different workspaces to ensure they are properly distanced? Have you considered taping or roping areas off?  What about your common areas, such as breakrooms, bathrooms, mail and copy rooms?  What procedures can you establish to ensure your employees can effectively socially distance?

These are only 3 main topics to help you begin to return to work, however, there are so many resources out there for employers wanting to put together a strong “Re-Entry/Return to Work Strategy”. A few of those resources can be found on SHRM.org, your local Employment Law experts, or you could network with other businesses to understand their strategies.

Here at HTI we have formed our strategy and have a plan for re-entry and returning to our “new normal.”  We would love to discuss how we determined our strategy, how we plan to implement our strategy, and help you work towards a strong strategy for your organization!