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Making Reopening Workplaces Feel Safe & Welcoming

June 27, 2021 Pegalis Law Group

Making Reopening Workplaces Feel Safe and Welcoming

As more Americans are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, more workplaces are beginning to reopen across the nation. Below, Pegalis Law Group, LLC offers tips for making your workplace feel safe and welcoming to your employees. Making the transition as seamless as possible is in your best interest to promote safety in the workplace while boosting employee morale and productivity.

Keep Current on the CDC’s Guidelines and Recommendations

It’s important to continue following the recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thanks to the widespread availability of vaccines, many COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted nationally and state by state. However, you should be prepared to take some comfort cues from your employees. If your workers still feel more comfortable wearing facemasks when in groups, adjust your policies to allow this possibility. You may still want to have an adequate number of hand sanitizing stations available to help prevent the spread of other illnesses in the workplace, especially as cold and flu season approaches again. Continuing to invest in extra cleaning measures for your office can also go a long way in easing your employees’ anxiety about returning.

Be Open and Honest About Any New Safety Procedures in Place

If you have any new policies in place, be sure to take the time to explain them to your employees. Educating people about best practices and new safety procedures will help eliminate your workers’ concerns about returning to a physical work location versus working remotely from home. Anticipating and answering questions helps build confidence and eliminate individual errors in judgment. Ensure every employee has been trained according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) safety guidelines. Make sure all safety training is easy to understand with clear, concise, accurate information. Squash the spread of misinformation and rumors in your workplace.

If Possible, Allow Your Employees to Return When They’re Ready

If it’s feasible for your business operations, allow your employees to return to the workplace when they’re ready. Many companies set up the means for their workers to work remotely from home during the pandemic. Don’t try to force everyone to come back to the office all at once. Staggering the reopening of your office in waves can make it feel safer for your workers. You may find some employees more resistant to returning to the workplace than others. Stress that you only have everyone’s best interests in mind and encourage them to return at their own pace. Now isn’t the time to apply a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Your employees will appreciate being treated with individual courtesies. Giving people more flexibility with their work environment or schedule fosters the feeling that your organization truly values and cares for your workers’ well-being. Lead by example. Don’t expect lower-ranking workers to return until your upper management teams are ready.

Have a Plan Ready & Ensure Your Facility Is Ready for Occupancy

Create a COVID-19 workplace health and safety return to office plan and communicate this clearly to your employees. If your facility was closed for an extended period, be sure to have it inspected to ensure it’s ready for occupancy. You’ll want to have the elevators evaluated for any mechanical issues and the water fountains and HVAC systems tested. Take all necessary remedial actions for any health hazards such as mold growth or pest infestations before inviting employees back to the building. Consider opening doors or windows or installing more ceiling fans or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fans to allow better ventilation and improved indoor air quality. It may also be necessary to modify your seating or cubicle arrangements to accommodate social distancing measures. Always keep your employees updated by communicating with them openly, honestly, and frequently.

An Advocate for Public Safety and Awareness for 50+ Years

Achieving some of New York’s largest verdicts and settlements over the past 50 years, Pegalis Law Group, LLC represents clients with matters involving personal injury and medical malpractice. Our staff is also devoted to creating more public awareness about being proactive patients to improve universal healthcare. Please visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive additional tips about being proactive about your employees’ health.