defining work arrangements
Before clearing your employees to return to work, you’ll need to define what your new normal will look like. Can some of your workforce continue to work remotely? Do you need to make alternate arrangements to protect your employees who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19? Below are some considerations for defining your return to work plan.
allow priority employees to return to work first
When developing your plan for who should return to work, take into consideration extenuating circumstances. Give return to work priority to employees including:
- Those whose presence is essential on-site.
- Those who don’t have all tools needed to work efficiently while remote.
- Those who face specific challenges to work remotely (for example: those balancing work and childcare).
stay remote for as long as possible
- Those whose physical presence at the office is not required should continue to work from home if they have the ability to do so.
- Keep remote work in place as long as possible for as many of your employees as you can.
- Vulnerable or high-risk employees (ie immunocompromised, people with respiratory issues, and those over 60-years-old) should be given priority to work remotely.
prepare your workforce
- Communicate before opening. Communicate your new policies and procedures to employees well in advance of your reopening date. Ensure that employees are crystal clear on the new measures and what they will need to do differently.
- Communicate regularly. Send a weekly COVID-19 newsletter or other regular updates to all your employees. Communicate any changes in policy and be open and transparent about the measures you’re taking.
- Develop digital training tools. Create specific COVID-19 training courses or webinars to explain new policies and procedures. Make sure all materials are available online and can be accessed remotely. If you’re hiring new employees during this period, set up digital hiring and onboarding processes.
- Mitigate employee anxiety. Employees may be understandably nervous about returning to work. Provide clear guidance, points of contact and mental health supports such as webinars or online counselling to ensure employees receive the support they need to transition back to work.
- Classify employees by risk level. Classify employees based on their risk-level. Make note of employees who are immunocompromised, over 60, or have other factors that put them at higher risk for COVID-19. Take extra precautions to protect high-risk employees such as having them work from home, or completing alternate tasks.
- Prepare for extenuating circumstances. Some employees may not be able to return to the office if they have children or family members to care for during the crisis. Others may not feel comfortable returning to work. Develop a plan for how you’ll respond to these circumstances.
- Establish external communication policies. Determine guidelines for how employees should speak to clients and customers. Consider creating guidelines for how they should talk about your services, your health and safety policies, etc.
- Safely commuting to work. Check your employees have a safe method of getting to work such as walking, cycling or driving. For employees who typically rely on public transit, you may consider providing taxi vouchers or facilitating alternative means of commuting to work. Also consider restricting carpooling and the number of people allowed in company cars.
Randstad prepared these resources to share best practices to get back to work safely. The information in this document is intended as a guideline only. Please do additional research and consult with experts before making decisions for your business.