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The New Normal: Back to Office Safety During COVID-19

Is the end of COVID-19 in sight? Though spikes and dips cluster in different parts around the country, a growing trend of businesses have begun preparations to return employees to the office. While many don’t have a specific timeline, planning for the day that employees can return has begun. From desk arrangements to addendum policies, there’s a lot to plan and ensuring that your office is a safe environment for employees is a complicated affair. The following sections identify best practices to consider when preparing your business.  


Employers should monitor the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, federal, state, and local public health communications about COVID-19 prevention and take steps to educate their employees. Notably, businesses will need to consider whether their existing policies need modification and check for compliance with newly enacted laws. An interim addendum to procedures could help organizations adjust to the sometimes rapidly changing nature of the pandemic. OSHA has developed helpful guidance tools on infection prevention and healthy hygiene practices for the workplace.   


How will you ensure that employees have read and understood new workplace policies? Many have turned toward training systems and management software to teach and ensure compliance. Employers are ultimately responsible for making sure that policies are readily available in different formats as needed (i.e., offered in multiple languages). The best compliance procedures educate and have a process in place to document whether employees understand the information provided. Plans should remain flexible to adjust to new developments and guidance as we learn more about this disease.  


Finally, how can the layout of the office best protect the health of employees? No stone can be left unturned as even the slightest oversight could place workers at risk. How many employees will be permitted onsite? What are the policies for using lobbies, elevators, and common spaces? Will employers allow employees to access the office after hours? To help tackle these questions, many have utilized shift schedules, phased return programs, and “essential employee” only sections. To confidently bring employees back to the office safely, check Sagitec’s Back to Office Solution that helps you create a tailored and effective plan for everyone. 


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Topics: healconnect