Go Evo’s Return to the Workplace After Covid 19 Guide
Since the beginning of the pandemic, workplaces in nearly every industry have had to make many adjustments to keep their employees safe. Regulation compliance, safety concerns, symptom tracking, and sanitization are just some of the obstacles Go Evo has helped customers address.
Through our partnerships with hospitals, schools, and enterprises, we’ve been reminded again and again that the most important thing to keep in mind is the physical and mental health of your workforce. To keep them safe in 2021, you’ll need a thorough plan.
Establishing a safe and efficient workplace isn’t an easy task. One look at Health Canada’s documentation verifies that point. But with PPA, we’ve helped organizations across North America simplify the process.
Today, we’ll look at some of the most important things to remember when developing a return to work plan, including communication, leadership responsibilities, and best practices.
We’re also offering a free download of the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services return to work checklist, so make sure to stick around to the end.
Returning to the Workplace During and After the Pandemic
Questions for Your Leadership Team
Before you dive into the details of a return to work action plan, you must ask some key questions. The list below has been developed over time at Go Evo. The questions represent dozens of companies that have gone through the initial stages of developing a return to work plan.
Initial Return to Work Questions
- How many employees depend on public transit to get to your office(s)?
- Can your organization operate remotely for the foreseeable future? Would there be significant challenges, financial or otherwise?
- Is the cost of workplace real estate necessary for your organization?
- What’s the level of mental health risk to your employees from continuing to work remotely?
- Have your employees been vocal about not wanting to return to work?
- Do you have the capabilities to screen and track infected employees?
- Do you use a versatile reporting tool to help manage, assess and report on the various aspects of returning to the workplace?
The answers to these questions should inform your plan development. Keeping an open mind about the needs of your employees means your plan will speak to them rather than for them.
Create a Return to Work Action Item Team
While some companies with five or fewer employees may not need an action item team to develop their return to work plan, most will. By giving the responsibility to a select group of people, you ensure that a fair and honest assessment of your company’s needs are met. Gaps in your plan can cause real headaches once it has been implemented, so it’s better to run into obstacles at this stage.
We recommend a team that comprises both supervisors and staff. That way, every aspect of the company will be seen from multiple perspectives. Lunchroom sanitization, for example, might be better assessed by an employee that uses the room, versus a manager who eats in his office.
Invite feedback on who should be part of the team, and once finalized, let everyone know. Keeping an open line of dialogue throughout the planning process ensures there are no surprises once the plan is implemented.
Invest in Open Communication with Employees
Speaking of communication, the awareness stage is a critical step in your company’s plan. Business owners and managers must make a real effort to inform and engage. We recommend going beyond a basic email to the staff.
Try a poll to see where everyone’s mind is at. Take thirty minutes for a Zoom call where staff can voice opinions and concerns. Later, when the plan becomes part of an employee’s workday, they’re more likely to see the big picture.
Is Your Team Ready to Return to Work?
Don’t be surprised if not all employees are eager to enter the office again on a routine basis. As an employer, it’s part of your responsibility to understand the cause of their reluctance and add action items into your return to work plan that addresses them.
Some employees might be worried about their safety, for example. Others may not have daycare set up for their children — or have a hard time finding it. Make sure to give staff time to find solutions on their own. It may be worth considering if some employees can stay home or return to work later than everyone else.
Draft a Return to Work Checklist Download
At Go Evo, we’re always finding new ways to improve our products. The Personal Protective App (PPA) has seen lots of updates in the past year. Many of them were inspired by problems our users needed help solving.
The Post-Pandemic Return to Work Checklist, initially developed by WSPS, is a robust digital form that goes through many of the steps outlined here and much more. Here’s the complete list of sections:
- Assemble an Action Item Team
- Assess Workplace Risks
- Create Plan to Return to Work
- Develop Communication Plan for Employees
- Review Health & Safety + Mental Wellness
- Review Management & Business Processes
Want to get a headstart as you prepare your business or organization for a safe return of staff members and visitors? For a limited time, we’re offering our readers free access to this helpful checklist. You can either log in to the app itself and use the checklist, or download a PDF version.
Follow the instructions below!
Go Evo Is Here to Help
The pandemic has made planning for the future a little harder. But that doesn’t mean you have no control over the next chapter of your business. By effectively setting up an Action Item Team, communicating with employees, and addressing health and safety concerns, the next step is within reach.
We hope the free checklist helps make your return to work a little easier and safer. Remember, you can use this checklist and many more in our app! If you want to know any more about PPA’s features or want to book a demo, we’re happy to help.