Skip to main content

Return to work roadmap and resource guide: COVID-19

Download the Return to Work Roadmap:COVID-19 pdf

Employers face unprecedented new challenges and considerations in returning to work while COVID-19 remains a health threat. Below is a compilation of guidance from multiple resources directing employers how to safely open the work place back up while keeping employees and customers protected.

Policies and Procedures When Preparing to Reopen

OSHA has provided guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. These include information on developing policies or procedures.
Highlights include:

  • Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home.
  • Ensuring that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance.
  • Not requiring a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory Illness to validate their illness or return to work.
    • According to the EEOC employers may require sick employees to present a doctor’s note, but are wise to consider alternatives.
  • Maintain flexible policies to allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members.
  • Provide training, education, and informational material about worker and health safety, including proper hygiene practices and the use of any workplace controls (including PPE).

» Task: Review recommendations from CDC, OSHA, and State and county governments
CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website
US Department of Labor: OSHA COVID-19 Website and OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 document Coronavirus Website or Responsible RestartOhio or your state’s Health Department website

Coming out of a Shutdown

Some industries, such as manufacturing, might be familiar with having certain processes or even entire buildings being temporarily removed from service and thus have safe start up procedures in place. Restarting operations for any organization can be difficult, overwhelming, or even dangerous.

Business should have effective communication with their workers, and be sure to provide training and education so workers understand updated policies and procedures.

There are three steps to help manage the process of reopening:

  1. Defining Scope – Organization is essential for a smooth transition. Involve all levels of your company in the planning process.
  2. Preparing Facilities and Managers – Plans to reopen should detail job scope, manpower, contractors, and labor hours. Be sure to also consider logistics for PPE, and any extra cleaning or disinfecting.
  3. Executing – If necessary for your organization’s typical operations, be sure to do any equipment or logistical testing with relevant personnel to address unforeseen issues before the bulk of your workforce returns. Also, consider having your employees return in stages in order to address problems without undo stress to your systems.

» Task: Develop a written pandemic plan, including methods to distance workers, test and track employee exposure, cleaning procedures, and response to an outbreak in a facility.
Pandemic Return to Work Plan – sample
Pandemic Return to Work – template
Return to Work Checklist or Re-Opening Post COVID Client Re-Entry Checklist

» Task: Evaluate whether a business can stagger its workforce, leaving some to work remotely or only in the office part of the week. What have you learned working remotely? Can this be improved upon and replicated moving forward?
Productivity During Pandemic Assessment
Pandemic Success Strategy  – 12 month guide/template
Telecommuting Checklist
Telecommuting Employer/Employee Agreement – sample
Work From Home Policy – template

» Task: Communicate all changes and pandemic plan to employees and also encourage health monitoring and rigorous hygiene.
COVID-19 Return to Work / Welcome Letter to Employees – template
Coronavirus & Workplace Hygiene Communication – template

» Task: Review and consider personal protective equipment needs—mask, gloves, shields, etc.— and determine sourcing methods.
Face Coverings – sample employee notice

» Task: Assess sick leave and medical leave policies and adjust to new legislation, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act Information
FFCRA Employee Request Form

» Task: Implement health screenings of employees that do not violate state and federal laws.
Employee Health Screening Form
Employee Screening Guide
Business Screening Q&A

Disinfecting Your Workplace If A Worker Gets Sick

The CDC has released guidelines on how to disinfect your building or facility if someone is sick. This includes:

  • Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation.
  • Wait 24-hours before cleaning and disinfecting, or as long as possible.
  • If more than 7 days since the ill person visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.
    • Continue routine cleaning.
  • When cleaning, wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks of the cleaning process, including handling trash, in addition to personal protective equipment that might be required based on cleaning products used.

Focusing on Well-Being

Once the world begins to return to its new normal post-Stay Home, Stay Safe isolation procedures, providing your employees with resources to support their well-being will be more important than ever. Kapnick Strive has put together the Ways to Support Your Workforce flyer (see link below) which provides techniques for supporting well-being in 6 key areas: environmental, social, physical, financial, mental/emotional, and intellectual.

» Task: Reengage employees back into the work place.
Ways to Support Your Workforce
Wear Masks, 6 ft Apart, Wash Hands – posters & signs for the workplace

Disclaimer: Kapnick recognizes the fluidity of the current COVID-19 situation and will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available. This information is relevant as of May 1, 2020.