Planning a Safe Return to Work
The New Normal is a Healthy Place to Work
COVID-19 has changed the ways people live their lives and companies do business. Now, after weeks of sheltering in place, everyone is anxious to return to normal. But with COVID-19 still out there, getting back to business won’t mean business as usual.
These best practices, templates and resources will help you build a safe return to work strategy.
Protecting the health of our communities has been OhioHealth’s top priority since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As people return to work and public spaces, we remain committed to our promise.
All organizations should establish new policy protocols and prepare their employees for cultural changes as they return to the workplace. Although every work environment is different, following these recommendations should help your employees feel safe and comfortable.
You can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by implementing the following practices, and educating your employees about the importance of good workplace hygiene and reducing the spread of germs. Be sure to share the fliers linked on this page with your employees, or post them around the office as a daily reminder.
- Check temperatures: Some employers are checking their employees’ temperatures before they enter the workplace. If employees have a fever or show symptoms of illness, send them home so they do not infect other employees.
- Require masks for all: Employees, clients and customers should wear a face mask at all times while on company property.
- Promote frequent hand-washing: Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. If sinks are not readily available, consider renting portable hand-washing stations and provide hand sanitizer in common spaces. Hand-washing hints (PDF)
How Sick is Too Sick to Go to Work?
Our medical directors developed guidelines, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to help employees and managers know when it’s safe to return to work after being sick. These guidelines are linked below.
In any workplace, keeping employees healthy begins by creating a culture where employees know it’s OK to stay home if they have a fever of symptoms of illness. You may need to allow more sick days for individuals, but it will help protect your workforce.
Having a culture like this is even more important when diseases share similar symptoms, like COVID-19 and the flu. It's often difficult to tell if you have COVID-19 or the flu, so it is best to stay home until you can speak to your provider. If employees show symptoms of COVID-19, they should contact their primary care providers or the Ohio Department of Health at 1 (833) 427.5634, and they will decide if tests need to be ordered.
Avoiding close contact with others is one of the most effective ways of preventing COVID-19. Include these social distancing recommendations in your return to work strategy to enhance the safety of your workplace.
- Encourage employees to maintain a 6 foot distance from others at all times.
- Consider having employees work in split subteams, on designated days or arrive at staggered times.
- Consider having nonessential office personnel work virtually. This will reduce the number of employees in the workplace and conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for those who are essential.
- Limit meeting sizes to less than 10 people, while also maintaining distance.
- Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code.
- Encourage employees to take meal breaks in staggered shifts to reduce the number of people in your break room. Establish a maximum room capacity for break areas (50% of fire code).
Share these fliers with employees or post them around the office as daily reminders about physical distancing.
Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the workplace will kill germs and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other diseases.
- Clean and sanitize workspaces throughout the workday, between shifts and at the close of business for the day.
- Frequently disinfect common space areas, such as break rooms, copy rooms and meeting rooms. Encourage employees to wipe down the areas after each use.
- Provide hand sanitizer in common spaces.
- Reduce the sharing of work materials as much as possible.
- Use disposable tableware and other materials.