How Employers Can Support Employees as They Return to Work

Image Source: Sean Pollock

Return-to-Office Basics

As employees are returning to the office there are many adjustments needed to ensure a safe, sanitary and healthy work environment. Check out the following recommendations by the federal government to help keep your office safe and COVID-19 free:

  1. Develop and implement appropriate workplace safety policies regarding:
    • Social distancing and protective equipment
    • Temperature checks
    • Testing, isolating, and contact tracing
    • Sanitation
    • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
    • Business travel
      *Employers are encouraged to follow federal, state, and local regulations and guidance in developing these policies, informed as necessary by industry best practices.
  2. Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms.
    Employers are encouraged not to let symptomatic people physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
  3. Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following a positive COVID-19 test in the workplace.
    Employers should continue to ask infected employees to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (within six feet) for a prolonged period of time (10 minutes or more to 30 minutes or more depending upon particular circumstances, such as how close the employees worked and whether they shared tools or other items) with them during the 48-hour period before the onset of symptoms. Employers should send home all employees who worked closely with the infected employee to ensure the infection does not spread.1

How to Social Distance in the Office

Before employees return to the office it’s important to implement social distancing guidelines to ensure the workspace is safe and comfortable. By altering the office to adhere to social distancing guidelines you will decrease the chances of transmission to employees and customers. Below are new procedures your business can practice:

  • Implement flexible worksites (e.g., telework).
  • Implement flexible work hours (e.g., rotate or stagger shifts to limit the number of employees in the workplace at the same time).
  • Increase physical space between employees at the worksite by modifying the workspace.
  • Increase physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive-through service, physical barriers such as partitions).
  • Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to indicate where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
  • Implement flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance).
  • Close or limit access to common areas where employees are likely to congregate and interact.
  • Prohibit handshaking.
  • Deliver services remotely (e.g., phone, video, or web).
  • Adjust your business practices to reduce close contact with customers — for example, by providing drive-through service, click-and-collect online shopping, shop-by-phone, curbside pickup, and delivery options, where feasible.
  • Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier, if possible, to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier.
  • Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours, when possible, to reduce contact with customers.

*If you have more than one business location, consider giving local managers the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plans based on their local conditions.2

As always, the continuous practice of disinfecting, handwashing and sanitizing is very important to keeping the office a healthy and comfortable place for employers and employees. Getting back to the office can seem daunting but team encouragement will ensure the office and place you call home can stay virus free.  

Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and inform members that Tria’s pharmacists are a valuable and convenient resource during this current health crisis. Tria Health is committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk. 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.fisherphillips.com/post-pandemic-faqs#L1
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

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