We’ve seen many hopeful signs that the current pandemic will be over sooner rather than later. According to the CDC, nearly 42% of Americans are now fully vaccinated. Mask mandates are being lifted in many municipalities across the country. And many employers are starting to ask employees to return to the office.
How are your employees feeling about the return? There are many ways, as HR professionals, to ensure your employees can feel as confident and safe as possible returning to the workplace.
“HR will need to take actionable steps to ensure the safety of employees and customers, including providing standardized learning to quickly enable store associates to be upskilled on employee- and customer-related safety and social-distancing requirements in the new normal.” EY People Advisory Services Partner Betty Spetter, quoted in SHRM.
While your organization is discussing reopening, here’s a couple things organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommending doing as you plan your reopening:
Review guidance from state, local entities
This may perhaps be the most important step before reopening – see what plans the state and local governments have in place. This may impact how and when your business can open, and at what capacity it can operate. These guidelines can, and likely will, vary from state to state.
Understand the risks
As mentioned above, there’s still a risk to expose employees to COVID-19, especially those that are not vaccinated, even after reopening. That means your company should do a thorough risk assessment before reopening. That means review all guidance from OSHA, state and local agencies and even industry associations. The local health department would also be a good resource.
Realize hybrid work environments are here to stay
Analysts estimate that nearly half the workforce (48%) will continue to work remotely at least some of the time after the pandemic, according to Gartner. What does this mean for HR departments?
Even though many employers are asking employees to return to the office, many are still remaining flexible. Organize a committee to discuss the long-term implications of supporting hybrid work conditions. One primary topic of conversation is the technology stack utilized to make your organization digitally agile.
In a UKG survey of more than 1,000 customers using UKG Pro, 82% said a HCM platform was critical to enabling virtual work at their organizations. In addition, 66% said they relied on Pro’s reporting to manage their COVID-19 responses.
How are planning for your employees returning to work?
For a printer-friendly checklist of actions to consider, download this flyer from our friends at Apex Benefits.
And for resources from our partners at UKG, download their “Guide to Facilitating a Safe Return to Work, and a Better Future for All.”