Return to Work Part II
Now that it’s time for your team to return to work and you have taken precautions to clean the building to have it ready for them, what’s next? It is time you sit down and draft a letter to employees relaying all of the practices and procedures that will be followed as they return to work. Your team should be aware of any changes made to ensure everyone stays safe. They should also be aware of the ways in which it will affect them and their daily routine.
We have some suggestions of things to include in your employee communication based on recommendations by the CDC and OSHA.
First, you want to make it completely clear that they must stay home if they are sick. Gone are the days when the person who comes in with a cold is the hero because they do not want to miss a deadline. Your team must know under no circumstances should they come to work if they have a cough, fever, or any sign of illness. With COVID-19 it is also recommended that if they have been in contact with anyone who has symptoms that they stay home. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to this pandemic. Next, we need to talk about basic hygiene. Remind people to wash their hands! We cannot stress this enough. You can find posters on the CDC website to post around sinks to remind people how to wash their hands. [CDC hand washing Posters] We recommend you set an alarm for people every hour to get up, stretch, and wash their hands. This might seem like overkill but we promise people will appreciate everyone around them having clean hands.
Recommend to your team that they practice social distancing when not at work. If you have a team member that takes their weekend to go to the beach in Florida and returns to work on Monday, they may be spreading a serious illness without displaying symptoms. With that being said you are well within your rights to ask questions directly related to a person having COVID-19. Those might include “do you have a cough or shortness of breath?” The EEOC has also given the green light to take employee temperatures to ensure no one is sick. Normally this would be an absolute no, but with the circumstances that we are currently facing, if you feel like you have no other option than to take temperatures you may do so. You may also want to consider social distancing at work, this may include closing down communal break areas, as well as not holding large meetings. Additionally, working in shifts is also recommended, if you can have three shifts of teams come in, you are limiting contact with others.
Finally make sure everyone is aware of the process for Emergency FMLA and Emergency Paid Sick Leave. Both of these policies have requirements for all employers with less than 500 employees. We suggest you take a partner on these policies to ensure you are doing everything correctly. The fact of the matter is that the CDC, DOL, EEOC, and OSHA are putting out new information and guidance daily. You want to make sure you are giving your team the best advice you can and following all guidelines to ensure you are mitigating risk for your company. If you have any questions please reach out to us. We are here to help.