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Business As Unusual: How Do Employees Come Back?
May 4, 2020
Business As Unusual: How Do Employees Come Back?

Provincial governments are preparing plans to re-open workplaces. However, it is clear that we won’t be returning to business as usual. From an HR perspective, there are workforce challenges and health and safety considerations that you
should be thinking through prior to the re-opening of your business. Essential HR is bringing you a 5-part series examining all things people related that you should start planning for as your business re-opens its physical workspaces.   

Part 1: How does everyone come back to your workplace?

Once the green light is given to start allowing employees to return to work consider the following:

  1. Build a multi-disciplinary task force to lead the return to work. Include representatives from HR, facilities, operations, product management, and supply chain to develop an approach that makes sense for ramping up business while managing personnel needs and health and safety risks.
  2. Survey employees about their readiness to return to work to inform the plan that the task force is building for employees’ return to the workplace.

Download a copy of our Return to Work Survey here.

  1. Decide who should return when and where. Phase in employee return to work to allow for physical distancing. Build a phase framework to phase in employees’ return to the workplace.
    Potential approaches could be:
    • Required to work on-site first followed by those who are able to continue to work remotely.
    • Volunteers first.
    • Seat location: space those returning to work so that there is an empty workspace between each returning employee.
    • Have low-risk employees return to work before high-risk individuals such as employees with immunodeficiencies. High-risk individuals also include those who live with or are caring for high-risk family members including health care workers.

Download our Return to Work Phase Template here.

  1. Implement new policies and training. You will need to review your health and safety policies and include a new physical distancing or COVID-19 Health and Safety policy to enforce new safety measures. Review the information in our "Responding to COVID-19" blog to help get you started. Employees must be trained in new policies before returning to the workplace. Topics that should be included are:
    • Physical distancing rules
    • Travel and quarantine rules
      • Personal travel
      • Work travel
    • Attendance tracking in order to track potential exposure to the virus
    • Board room maximum capacities
    • Limitations on in-person meetings
    • Disciplinary measures for not following new health and safety protocols as well as
  1. Communicate regularly to employees. Communicate if nothing is changing and communicate when changes are coming. This will help employees manage their stress and anxiety about the situation. It will also help prepare them for the transition back to the workplace
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