05/20/2020 Amy Cell Talent entrepreneurs

The number of issues facing employers as the economy springs back to life is more complex than trying to figure out how to have a socially-distanced cookout, and accommodating those who've launched a diet (à la remote-call-calorie-consumption)! Once your industry and region are able to return to work, and you have a good safety plan in place, then what? Here is a framework that we put together to try to help:

(1) Determine: What needs to be done on-site? If your team has been working remotely, can some of the work continue off-site? Or, as you are ramping-up, can work be done off-site? While there are issues to address, remote work provides employees with flexibility, the ability to manage health concerns, fears of C-19, and childcare issues, and many team members are happy and productive at home. Why mess with a good thing?

(2) Involve: If you need some but not all of your team to return on-site, while the rest work remotely or stay on furlough, perhaps you can do a survey to see who would like to return. You don’t want to make assumptions here, but want to be fair and consistent. Giving employees an opportunity to help with planning can build trust and engagement. 

(3) Plan and Share: Fully document and communicate the safety precautions that you are putting in place and have a nice FAQ to cover common questions that are likely to come up. Document on internal websites, share via email, and via town hall/standup meetings. Don’t forget to come up with an alternative fun greeting to replace handshakes and hugs. The nod, wave, hand to heart, namaste, bows, and salutes represent creative ways to support a new post-COVID greeting-code.

(4) The Nudge: You can require employees to come back to work (even if they are afraid of C-19 or are earning more on unemployment than they would coming back to work) and they generally will need to comply or face termination. Exceptions may include an employee who: (a) wants to use accrued leave, (b) has a serious physical condition where an accommodation could be necessary, and/or (c) has a direct issue with COVID-like exposure, symptoms or caregiving that leads to considerations/relief under the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act. Note: Telecommuting is not viewed as a reasonable accommodation if it prohibits an employee from performing key job duties.

Tags: GetBacktoWorkEmployees