While other countries such as the U.S. continue to see a rise in case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths, Canada has been mostly successful in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Now that the country is slowly beginning to open, employers face tough decisions about reopening and welcoming employees back into workspaces. Before making the call, here are a few questions our HR experts at Nova Staffing think employers should ask themselves.
When is the right time for employees to return?
The right time to welcome employees back to physical workspaces depends on a lot of factors. Employers should look at local case numbers, review whether social distancing is possible, consider whether being in a physical workplace is necessary, and review other health and safety policies. Many employers are even making the call not to bring people back at all. Instead, they’re choosing to adopt a work from home model.
Who should return to workspaces?
The pandemic showed many businesses that their employees are capable of working effectively out of the workplace. Our recruitment agency has seen more employers adopt work from home guidelines as a result. Your company may want to consider allowing remote working for eligible employees. Employers that decide not to continue remote work should bring workers back slowly in phases. This will enable you to stress-test workspaces in the new environment so you can make any necessary changes before all workers return.
How can we protect returning employees?
Employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their employees. This means adopting social distancing practices, implementing mask-wearing, increasing cleaning schedules, doing temperature checks, altering sick leave policies, and more. Employers should make a complete plan for how you’ll protect workers once they return. How are you going to check for illness? What are you going to do if an employee has symptoms such as a cough or a fever? What about employees that live with high-risk individuals? All of these questions need to be considered beforehand.
What should we do about sick employees?
Although case numbers are dropping, welcoming employees back into physical workspaces increases the chance of encountering COVID-19. Employers need to have a policy in place to identify and handle what happens if an employee is infected. Our HR experts also suggest creating new sick leave guidelines for other illnesses as well. Employers also need to think about decontamination if an ill employee comes into the office and what would happen if other workers who came in contact with them.
How do we communicate returning to workspaces?
Times are tense right now, so it is essential to have a clear plan before communicating with employees. Employers need to answer all of the questions above and have solid guidelines in place before they start discussing returning with employees. Make sure you give employees enough time between announcing reopening and requiring them to come in. Be open to discussions as well. Remember that many employees may have children or high-risk family members that make returning to workplaces more complicated. It’s important to work with employees during these times. Open and honest communication will be crucial.
Nova Staffing can help if you’re looking for hiring solutions from experts to aide with reopening your business. Our employment agency is one of the best in Toronto and the GTA, with a team that is more than capable of helping your business finding, hiring, and training any new hires you need to reopen successfully. Contact us today to get started!