Businesses are gearing up to get back to …well, business. This cheat sheet will help you consider things to keep your work environment safe, and help you develop a plan of action for return-to-work in a post-pandemic world. Before opening your business, be sure to review federal, state, and local protocols for your industry. Check out information from the U.S. Chamber on state-by-state business reopening.
- Changes in business hours
- Travel freeze or limitations
- Amendments to vacation and/or benefit programs
- Compensation reductions or freezes for all employees
Hiring / Recalling Employees
- Determine dates employees will return to work.
- Will it be done in stages? Will it be staggered by ramping up hours over a certain period of time? Consider voluntary call-backs.
- Who will be brought back? Criteria should be non-discriminatory such as skill set, education and/or tenure.
- Analyze impact of recalling and re-hiring employees using any PPP or other government loan programs.
- Update employee handbooks on accommodation policies based on EEOC and state government COVID-19 issues.
Safe Work Environment
- Implement screening protocol – daily health screenings such as a questionnaire, temperature checks, symptom checks, and/or COVID-19 testing. Reminder to obtain only necessary information; establish protocol for maintaining health/risk screening results; provide employees with notice of health screening protocols.
- Determine protocol for employees testing positive including reporting obligations to co-workers, customers/vendors, and government agencies. Follow HIPAA and privacy guidelines.
- Follow OSHA guidelines and any state or local protocols for PPE – face masks, gloves, respirators, etc. Protocols for third-party visitors, vendors, and customers. Conduct employee training.
- Develop protocol for routine cleaning and disinfection using CDC and OSHA guidelines. Consider periodic announcements asking employees to sanitize common touch points in work area.
- Install hand sanitizer dispensers across worksites.
- Install proper signage or floor markings for social distancing. Consider one-way hallways.
- Monitor common areas where employees are likely to congregate. Remove every other chair in break-rooms, workstations, etc. Consider partitions in common and/or reception areas.