How to Safely Return Employees to the Workplace


Safety & Security

Healthcare worker administering a shot

Coronavirus made working from home the norm for most of 2020 and into 2021, however some businesses have begun to gradually return to their offices.

As people across the world ease into what was once normal, many remain concerned of potential outbreaks at work, massive shutdowns, and companies' policies to avoid infections, among other issues. While the idea of returning to work in person may sound a bit anxiety-inducing, here are some precautions companies are taking as well as what employees can do to keep themselves safe.

Steps companies are implementing

The big question on everyone’s mind at the moment is whether companies will require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace. According to the AARP, technically an employer can require their employees to be vaccinated, however, there are many exceptions that they would need to legally adhere to. The most likely scenario is that employers will strongly encourage the vaccination, but not require it across the board.

The transition of returning to work is a bit daunting. “A major consideration every organization should evaluate before issuing a return-to-work order are the practices they have adopted to promote a safe physical environment for workers,” the National Safety Council (NSC) stated in their SAFER guide.

Here’s what strategies companies can utilize, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Temperature checks

One of the symptoms of Coronavirus is an individual having a temperature above 100.4 F. Be sure that screeners are properly protected through physical barriers and to maintain social distancing of six feet if employees are screening themselves.

Hand-sanitizing stations

Providing access to hand sanitizing stations throughout the workplace will help remind employees to consistently keep their hands clean.

Social distancing requirements

To maintain a distance of six feet between staff, companies are moving workspaces around, directing foot traffic, and setting up visual cues.

Consistent deep cleaning

To prevent spread, businesses are cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces at least once a day.

Mask requirements

Companies are requiring employees to wear masks and even provide face coverings for employees that don’t have one.

Ventilation upgrades

Companies are exploring upgrades to their ventilation systems as the CDC recommends routine HVAC maintenance and general ventilation improvements.