Stevens Point Human Resource Association

Return to Work???

26 Aug 2020 9:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich

Everyone is thinking about bringing employees back to work but struggling with the right decision and the right steps to take if employees come back to work.  The initial thought was that employees could return to work after Labor Day.   Some companies are learning that working from home is much easier to accomplish than originally thought.  Other companies are concerned about loss of company focus and company culture if employees stay away from the office.

In a recent survey of 15 major employers covering approximately 2.5 million employees, 57 percent of the companies have decided to postpone their back-to-work plans because of recent increases in COVID-19 cases.  Almost 50 percent of the companies said they were putting into place additional safety measures such as redesigned work spaces and temperature checks.  Many companies are looking at December 31 as the new date for considering bringing employees back into the workplace.

The new dilemma is whether employees will be required to be vaccinated when they return to the workplace.  The results are still in question whether there will be a vaccination that is truly effective but there is a lot of consideration on whether or not to require employees to be vaccinated.  Another part of that consideration is whether employees will be required to receive the flu shot unless they have medical or religious reasons for refusing to receive that vaccination.

Companies are struggling with a number of considerations as they plan for bringing back employees to the workplace:

  • How do you keep the Coronavirus out of the workplace?
  • What requirements will you have for employees coming back to work in the form of at-home screening of temperature or taking temperature at the workplace?
  • What steps will you take to stop the spread of the virus if someone brings it into the workplace?  Plans should be in place to do contact tracing and taking of immediate measures to isolate an individual with symptoms and their workspace.
  • What working conditions will apply when employees return to the workplace?
  • Enhanced cleaning, sanitizing, and social distancing appear to be the two most common considerations.  The wearing of masks is another area of constant debate but also looking to reduce shared workspaces must be a consideration.
  • What type of communication will you have with employees whether on a daily basis or if the virus appears in the workplace?  It is always challenging to determine how often you should communicate with employees to avoid creating more fear but constant education about safety in the workplace is important.

These are just some of the considerations that a company must reflect upon when planning to bring employees back to the workplace.  Companies must rely upon local health authorities as well as recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, and DOL. 

If you have questions about this, please contact Dietrich VanderWaal.

Dean R. Dietrich, Esq.
Dietrich VanderWaal, S.C.
530 Jackson Street
Wausau, WI  54403
(715) 845-9401

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