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Guidance On Return To Office Policies

Written November 3, 2017

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  • Determine which orders (federal, state, and local) apply to you and make sure you're complying with the most restrictive rules. This assessment will need to be repeated on a rolling basis.

  • Assess what is right for your organization and your workforce. Even when you're legally permitted to reopen, it may not be wise to do so.

  • Consider how federal and state leave and disability laws and your own policies may apply to employees who cannot return to the office or work remotely due to their own illness or health condition, that of a family member or caretaking obligations. Such employees may be eligible for paid leave.

  • Perform enhanced and routine workplace cleaning. Contact vendors proactively to arrange for cleaning services and supplies, as such items will be in demand.

  • If your office is in a multi tenant building, proactively work with your landlord and building management team to ensure adequate cleaning and social distancing measures are taken in all common areas, including elevators.

  • Reconfigure workspaces to comply with social distancing requirements.

  • Consider limiting in-person meetings and visitors to the workplace. Encourage employees to conduct meetings by videoconference.

  • Consider staggering shifts and breaks to avoid overcrowding.

  • Consider employee commutes.

  • Require the use of face masks.

  • Reconsider travel policies. Regularly consult the travel health notices posted by the CDC.

  • Respond swiftly to any COVID-19 diagnosis. You may be required to notify relevant public authorities and should consider taking steps to decontaminate or temporarily shut down the workplace. Consult OSHA guidance on whether to record the diagnosis as a work-related illness and consider notifying your workers' comp carrier.

  • Be sure all policies are implemented in a way that avoids discrimination and harassment.

  • Perhaps above all else, be prepared for plans to change.

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