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COVID-19 and the New Normal: Return-To-Work Considerations

Laws and regulations are changing rapidly. After the publication of this article they are subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

As states and local governments begin to relax Stay-at-Home orders, many employers are eager to have their employees return to the office and to some sense of normalcy. Many changes to the environment may be necessitated – either legally or practically – by the return to work. Making the health and safety of employees the top priority for employers as they return to the office will not only make some employees more comfortable with returning to work, but may provide some protection for employers faced with later legal claims. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a number of actions employers should consider while contemplating or continuing a return-to-work in an office setting.

Follow Government Orders and Guidance. Companies should continue to follow local, state, and federal guidance regarding Stay-At-Home orders.

Consider How Employees Will Return to Work. Develop a plan for how and when employees will return to work. If requiring all employees to return on the same day would create an unsafe environment, consider staggered shifts and alternating Work-From-Home days to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time or in close proximity to each other.

Be Mindful of Employee Leave or Disability Accommodation Laws. Some employees may be entitled to continue work from home or remain on leave of absence under state or federal law due to pre-existing health conditions. Further, be certain that the organization’s Human Resources personnel or leaders are familiar with new obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which permits paid leave to employees under certain circumstances related to Covid-19 illness or lack of childcare.

Prevent Spread of COVID-19 with Basic Infection Prevention Measures. First and foremost, employers should consult CDC recommendations, both those that are generally applicable and those which may have been established for particular types of industries. The following include practical considerations implicated in most office settings:

  • Establish disinfection stations for employees upon arrival and maintain adequate stock of disinfectants. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

  • Review current cleaning procedures and update, if necessary, to ensure Daily cleaning of entire office and deep cleaning on a weekly basis

  • Communicate with Building Management regarding shared office building spaces (i.e., elevators, restrooms, foyers) to ensure that these areas are being cleaned and disinfected in accordance with CDC recommendations or as otherwise necessary to protect the workforce.

  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the office.

  • Reinforce frequent and thorough hand washing with soap or other disinfectants.

  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Avoid employees’ use of one another’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment when possible.

  • Encourage or require employees to wear masks or face coverings in shared building spaces, such as elevators.

  • Maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future. Reconfigure work spaces, when feasible, to maintain a distance of six feet between employees and consider use of visual signals to ensure that people do not get too close to one another.

  • Close or limit communal area usage. Remove extra conference room chairs and install signage indicating the maximum number of people allowed in each room. Consider closing communal lunch areas or coffee stations.

  • Establish or continue employee health screenings and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees. Depending on the nature of the business, methods may range from simple questions to employees about symptoms prior to entering the workplace to temperature screenings. Consider paying employees for screening time and commensurate waiting time to avoid potential wage and hour claims.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send home those who arrive with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.

  • Establish return to work procedures for employees who are symptomatic.

Communicate Policy Changes to Employees. Employers should communicate with employees what steps the company is taking to protect their health and ensure that updated policies and return-to-work procedures are disseminated to employees and that training is provided where appropriate.

COVID-19 and the New Normal: Return-To-Work Considerations

Laws and regulations are changing rapidly. After the publication of this article they are subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

As states and local governments begin to relax Stay-at-Home orders, many employers are eager to have their employees return to the office and to some sense of normalcy. Many changes to the environment may be necessitated – either legally or practically – by the return to work. Making the health and safety of employees the top priority for employers as they return to the office will not only make some employees more comfortable with returning to work, but may provide some protection for employers faced with later legal claims. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a number of actions employers should consider while contemplating or continuing a return-to-work in an office setting.

Follow Government Orders and Guidance. Companies should continue to follow local, state, and federal guidance regarding Stay-At-Home orders.

Consider How Employees Will Return to Work. Develop a plan for how and when employees will return to work. If requiring all employees to return on the same day would create an unsafe environment, consider staggered shifts and alternating Work-From-Home days to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time or in close proximity to each other.

Be Mindful of Employee Leave or Disability Accommodation Laws. Some employees may be entitled to continue work from home or remain on leave of absence under state or federal law due to pre-existing health conditions. Further, be certain that the organization’s Human Resources personnel or leaders are familiar with new obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which permits paid leave to employees under certain circumstances related to Covid-19 illness or lack of childcare.

Prevent Spread of COVID-19 with Basic Infection Prevention Measures. First and foremost, employers should consult CDC recommendations, both those that are generally applicable and those which may have been established for particular types of industries. The following include practical considerations implicated in most office settings:

  • Establish disinfection stations for employees upon arrival and maintain adequate stock of disinfectants. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

  • Review current cleaning procedures and update, if necessary, to ensure Daily cleaning of entire office and deep cleaning on a weekly basis

  • Communicate with Building Management regarding shared office building spaces (i.e., elevators, restrooms, foyers) to ensure that these areas are being cleaned and disinfected in accordance with CDC recommendations or as otherwise necessary to protect the workforce.

  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the office.

  • Reinforce frequent and thorough hand washing with soap or other disinfectants.

  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Avoid employees’ use of one another’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment when possible.

  • Encourage or require employees to wear masks or face coverings in shared building spaces, such as elevators.

  • Maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future. Reconfigure work spaces, when feasible, to maintain a distance of six feet between employees and consider use of visual signals to ensure that people do not get too close to one another.

  • Close or limit communal area usage. Remove extra conference room chairs and install signage indicating the maximum number of people allowed in each room. Consider closing communal lunch areas or coffee stations.

  • Establish or continue employee health screenings and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees. Depending on the nature of the business, methods may range from simple questions to employees about symptoms prior to entering the workplace to temperature screenings. Consider paying employees for screening time and commensurate waiting time to avoid potential wage and hour claims.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send home those who arrive with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.

  • Establish return to work procedures for employees who are symptomatic.

Communicate Policy Changes to Employees. Employers should communicate with employees what steps the company is taking to protect their health and ensure that updated policies and return-to-work procedures are disseminated to employees and that training is provided where appropriate.

COVID-19 and the New Normal: Return-To-Work Considerations

Laws and regulations are changing rapidly. After the publication of this article they are subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

As states and local governments begin to relax Stay-at-Home orders, many employers are eager to have their employees return to the office and to some sense of normalcy. Many changes to the environment may be necessitated – either legally or practically – by the return to work. Making the health and safety of employees the top priority for employers as they return to the office will not only make some employees more comfortable with returning to work, but may provide some protection for employers faced with later legal claims. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a number of actions employers should consider while contemplating or continuing a return-to-work in an office setting.

Follow Government Orders and Guidance. Companies should continue to follow local, state, and federal guidance regarding Stay-At-Home orders.

Consider How Employees Will Return to Work. Develop a plan for how and when employees will return to work. If requiring all employees to return on the same day would create an unsafe environment, consider staggered shifts and alternating Work-From-Home days to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time or in close proximity to each other.

Be Mindful of Employee Leave or Disability Accommodation Laws. Some employees may be entitled to continue work from home or remain on leave of absence under state or federal law due to pre-existing health conditions. Further, be certain that the organization’s Human Resources personnel or leaders are familiar with new obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which permits paid leave to employees under certain circumstances related to Covid-19 illness or lack of childcare.

Prevent Spread of COVID-19 with Basic Infection Prevention Measures. First and foremost, employers should consult CDC recommendations, both those that are generally applicable and those which may have been established for particular types of industries. The following include practical considerations implicated in most office settings:

  • Establish disinfection stations for employees upon arrival and maintain adequate stock of disinfectants. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

  • Review current cleaning procedures and update, if necessary, to ensure Daily cleaning of entire office and deep cleaning on a weekly basis

  • Communicate with Building Management regarding shared office building spaces (i.e., elevators, restrooms, foyers) to ensure that these areas are being cleaned and disinfected in accordance with CDC recommendations or as otherwise necessary to protect the workforce.

  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the office.

  • Reinforce frequent and thorough hand washing with soap or other disinfectants.

  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Avoid employees’ use of one another’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment when possible.

  • Encourage or require employees to wear masks or face coverings in shared building spaces, such as elevators.

  • Maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future. Reconfigure work spaces, when feasible, to maintain a distance of six feet between employees and consider use of visual signals to ensure that people do not get too close to one another.

  • Close or limit communal area usage. Remove extra conference room chairs and install signage indicating the maximum number of people allowed in each room. Consider closing communal lunch areas or coffee stations.

  • Establish or continue employee health screenings and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees. Depending on the nature of the business, methods may range from simple questions to employees about symptoms prior to entering the workplace to temperature screenings. Consider paying employees for screening time and commensurate waiting time to avoid potential wage and hour claims.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send home those who arrive with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.

  • Establish return to work procedures for employees who are symptomatic.

Communicate Policy Changes to Employees. Employers should communicate with employees what steps the company is taking to protect their health and ensure that updated policies and return-to-work procedures are disseminated to employees and that training is provided where appropriate.

COVID-19 and the New Normal: Return-To-Work Considerations

Laws and regulations are changing rapidly. After the publication of this article they are subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

As states and local governments begin to relax Stay-at-Home orders, many employers are eager to have their employees return to the office and to some sense of normalcy. Many changes to the environment may be necessitated – either legally or practically – by the return to work. Making the health and safety of employees the top priority for employers as they return to the office will not only make some employees more comfortable with returning to work, but may provide some protection for employers faced with later legal claims. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a number of actions employers should consider while contemplating or continuing a return-to-work in an office setting.

Follow Government Orders and Guidance. Companies should continue to follow local, state, and federal guidance regarding Stay-At-Home orders.

Consider How Employees Will Return to Work. Develop a plan for how and when employees will return to work. If requiring all employees to return on the same day would create an unsafe environment, consider staggered shifts and alternating Work-From-Home days to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time or in close proximity to each other.

Be Mindful of Employee Leave or Disability Accommodation Laws. Some employees may be entitled to continue work from home or remain on leave of absence under state or federal law due to pre-existing health conditions. Further, be certain that the organization’s Human Resources personnel or leaders are familiar with new obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which permits paid leave to employees under certain circumstances related to Covid-19 illness or lack of childcare.

Prevent Spread of COVID-19 with Basic Infection Prevention Measures. First and foremost, employers should consult CDC recommendations, both those that are generally applicable and those which may have been established for particular types of industries. The following include practical considerations implicated in most office settings:

  • Establish disinfection stations for employees upon arrival and maintain adequate stock of disinfectants. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

  • Review current cleaning procedures and update, if necessary, to ensure Daily cleaning of entire office and deep cleaning on a weekly basis

  • Communicate with Building Management regarding shared office building spaces (i.e., elevators, restrooms, foyers) to ensure that these areas are being cleaned and disinfected in accordance with CDC recommendations or as otherwise necessary to protect the workforce.

  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the office.

  • Reinforce frequent and thorough hand washing with soap or other disinfectants.

  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Avoid employees’ use of one another’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment when possible.

  • Encourage or require employees to wear masks or face coverings in shared building spaces, such as elevators.

  • Maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future. Reconfigure work spaces, when feasible, to maintain a distance of six feet between employees and consider use of visual signals to ensure that people do not get too close to one another.

  • Close or limit communal area usage. Remove extra conference room chairs and install signage indicating the maximum number of people allowed in each room. Consider closing communal lunch areas or coffee stations.

  • Establish or continue employee health screenings and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees. Depending on the nature of the business, methods may range from simple questions to employees about symptoms prior to entering the workplace to temperature screenings. Consider paying employees for screening time and commensurate waiting time to avoid potential wage and hour claims.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send home those who arrive with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.

  • Establish return to work procedures for employees who are symptomatic.

Communicate Policy Changes to Employees. Employers should communicate with employees what steps the company is taking to protect their health and ensure that updated policies and return-to-work procedures are disseminated to employees and that training is provided where appropriate.

COVID-19 and the New Normal: Return-To-Work Considerations

Laws and regulations are changing rapidly. After the publication of this article they are subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

As states and local governments begin to relax Stay-at-Home orders, many employers are eager to have their employees return to the office and to some sense of normalcy. Many changes to the environment may be necessitated – either legally or practically – by the return to work. Making the health and safety of employees the top priority for employers as they return to the office will not only make some employees more comfortable with returning to work, but may provide some protection for employers faced with later legal claims. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a number of actions employers should consider while contemplating or continuing a return-to-work in an office setting.

Follow Government Orders and Guidance. Companies should continue to follow local, state, and federal guidance regarding Stay-At-Home orders.

Consider How Employees Will Return to Work. Develop a plan for how and when employees will return to work. If requiring all employees to return on the same day would create an unsafe environment, consider staggered shifts and alternating Work-From-Home days to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time or in close proximity to each other.

Be Mindful of Employee Leave or Disability Accommodation Laws. Some employees may be entitled to continue work from home or remain on leave of absence under state or federal law due to pre-existing health conditions. Further, be certain that the organization’s Human Resources personnel or leaders are familiar with new obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which permits paid leave to employees under certain circumstances related to Covid-19 illness or lack of childcare.

Prevent Spread of COVID-19 with Basic Infection Prevention Measures. First and foremost, employers should consult CDC recommendations, both those that are generally applicable and those which may have been established for particular types of industries. The following include practical considerations implicated in most office settings:

  • Establish disinfection stations for employees upon arrival and maintain adequate stock of disinfectants. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

  • Review current cleaning procedures and update, if necessary, to ensure Daily cleaning of entire office and deep cleaning on a weekly basis

  • Communicate with Building Management regarding shared office building spaces (i.e., elevators, restrooms, foyers) to ensure that these areas are being cleaned and disinfected in accordance with CDC recommendations or as otherwise necessary to protect the workforce.

  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the office.

  • Reinforce frequent and thorough hand washing with soap or other disinfectants.

  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Avoid employees’ use of one another’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment when possible.

  • Encourage or require employees to wear masks or face coverings in shared building spaces, such as elevators.

  • Maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future. Reconfigure work spaces, when feasible, to maintain a distance of six feet between employees and consider use of visual signals to ensure that people do not get too close to one another.

  • Close or limit communal area usage. Remove extra conference room chairs and install signage indicating the maximum number of people allowed in each room. Consider closing communal lunch areas or coffee stations.

  • Establish or continue employee health screenings and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees. Depending on the nature of the business, methods may range from simple questions to employees about symptoms prior to entering the workplace to temperature screenings. Consider paying employees for screening time and commensurate waiting time to avoid potential wage and hour claims.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send home those who arrive with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.

  • Establish return to work procedures for employees who are symptomatic.

Communicate Policy Changes to Employees. Employers should communicate with employees what steps the company is taking to protect their health and ensure that updated policies and return-to-work procedures are disseminated to employees and that training is provided where appropriate.

COVID-19 and the New Normal: Return-To-Work Considerations

Laws and regulations are changing rapidly. After the publication of this article they are subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

As states and local governments begin to relax Stay-at-Home orders, many employers are eager to have their employees return to the office and to some sense of normalcy. Many changes to the environment may be necessitated – either legally or practically – by the return to work. Making the health and safety of employees the top priority for employers as they return to the office will not only make some employees more comfortable with returning to work, but may provide some protection for employers faced with later legal claims. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a number of actions employers should consider while contemplating or continuing a return-to-work in an office setting.

Follow Government Orders and Guidance. Companies should continue to follow local, state, and federal guidance regarding Stay-At-Home orders.

Consider How Employees Will Return to Work. Develop a plan for how and when employees will return to work. If requiring all employees to return on the same day would create an unsafe environment, consider staggered shifts and alternating Work-From-Home days to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time or in close proximity to each other.

Be Mindful of Employee Leave or Disability Accommodation Laws. Some employees may be entitled to continue work from home or remain on leave of absence under state or federal law due to pre-existing health conditions. Further, be certain that the organization’s Human Resources personnel or leaders are familiar with new obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which permits paid leave to employees under certain circumstances related to Covid-19 illness or lack of childcare.

Prevent Spread of COVID-19 with Basic Infection Prevention Measures. First and foremost, employers should consult CDC recommendations, both those that are generally applicable and those which may have been established for particular types of industries. The following include practical considerations implicated in most office settings:

  • Establish disinfection stations for employees upon arrival and maintain adequate stock of disinfectants. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

  • Review current cleaning procedures and update, if necessary, to ensure Daily cleaning of entire office and deep cleaning on a weekly basis

  • Communicate with Building Management regarding shared office building spaces (i.e., elevators, restrooms, foyers) to ensure that these areas are being cleaned and disinfected in accordance with CDC recommendations or as otherwise necessary to protect the workforce.

  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the office.

  • Reinforce frequent and thorough hand washing with soap or other disinfectants.

  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Avoid employees’ use of one another’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment when possible.

  • Encourage or require employees to wear masks or face coverings in shared building spaces, such as elevators.

  • Maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future. Reconfigure work spaces, when feasible, to maintain a distance of six feet between employees and consider use of visual signals to ensure that people do not get too close to one another.

  • Close or limit communal area usage. Remove extra conference room chairs and install signage indicating the maximum number of people allowed in each room. Consider closing communal lunch areas or coffee stations.

  • Establish or continue employee health screenings and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees. Depending on the nature of the business, methods may range from simple questions to employees about symptoms prior to entering the workplace to temperature screenings. Consider paying employees for screening time and commensurate waiting time to avoid potential wage and hour claims.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send home those who arrive with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.

  • Establish return to work procedures for employees who are symptomatic.

Communicate Policy Changes to Employees. Employers should communicate with employees what steps the company is taking to protect their health and ensure that updated policies and return-to-work procedures are disseminated to employees and that training is provided where appropriate.

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