The coronavirus global pandemic will be an event that will forever reshape our lives as well as our workplaces. Just as procedures changed for boarding airplanes after September 11, 2001, so will the impact of this virus change the way we live and work.
Employers who think they will just open the doors, turn on the lights, and welcome back employees to “business as usual” may be in for a huge surprise. Returning employees will experience a new work-life, perhaps for the long term.
We expect that federal, state, and local governments will issue mandatory directives on the policies and procedures needed to welcome employees back to your workplace. One of the potential mandatory directives will be that employers have a “reopening plan” ready to submit to a regulatory agency.
As businesses return to work in large numbers from either full or partial shutdowns, employers will need to rethink, reinvent, respond, and reestablish a new regular work life. This will most certainly include the introduction of social distancing measures, reevaluating on-site v. remote staffing needs, shift changes, enhanced cleaning procedures, and personal protective equipment.
Employers will have to consider measures to make their workplaces safe for both employees and the public. For example, if you work in the hospitality industry, a risk assessment for your business may include the installation of plexiglass barriers or providing gloves and masks to your employees.
As employees return to work, they will have different priorities formed by the pandemic, working remotely or sheltering in place. We believe those priorities will include maintaining social distancing at the office through experimentation with work setting and being offered more flexibility in work schedules.
We recommend that employers consider the following questions as they begin to develop their reopening plan:
Another big consideration will be what steps businesses can take to mitigate risk. Below are some suggestions to consider as you evaluate risk in your workplace:
-For example, have cleaning and sales personnel return initially to refill the pipeline
It is prudent to consider the above points prior to when states give the green light for your business sector to reopen. BST has experienced human resources and business management consultants available to discuss your reopening plan and best practices for your industry. For more information, call us at 518-459-6700 or visit us online at www.BSTco.com.
Posted on May 21, 2020 at 4:31 PM