Insider News: Returning to the workplace

Posted by AllWays Health Partners blog team on July 16, 2020

With many businesses reopening and allowing people to return to the office, it's important for employers to follow safety guidelines and make sure their employees feel comfortable. We're sharing some OSHA return-to-work guidelines, the steps employers are taking to keep their teams safe, and how to mentally prepare for being back in the office.

How to prepare yourself for a return to the office from Harvard Business Review

In addition to navigating the new normal of a post-COVID workplace, returning to the office may come with another challenge: feeling "lost in the familiar." This contradiction happens when our familiar routines are repeatedly disrupted by something new--like wearing masks, social distancing in the break room or cafeteria, or navigating a new office layout.

Some strategies to make this transition back less stressful include:

  • Acknowledge your emotions toward coming back and work to understand and address any anxieties
  • Expect changing protocols and routines to prevent frustration
  • Be honest and upfront about your needs during this time, and treat others with the same understanding
  • Be a source of positivity to help you and your coworkers feel comfortable with this strange new situation

OSHA releases additional FAQs regarding returning to the workplace: What employers need to know from The National Law Review

The latest guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outline recommended protocols for workplace safety during the pandemic. These recommendations address: cloth face coverings, workers who test positive for COVID-19, detailed guidance for the construction and healthcare industries, and worker protection concerns.

Majority of employers taking steps to safeguard returning employees, Willis Towers Watson survey finds from Willis Towers Watson

As workplaces begin opening up across the U.S., 71% of employers say they have developed workplace and employee safety policies for employees to return to work, but only 32% are prepared for a second wave of mass infections, according to survey by Willis Towers Watson. The firm's second workplace safety survey found:

  • Companies identifying workplace safety as a top priority rose to 39% in June from 27% in April;
  • Top measures for protecting employees are: reconfiguring work areas to maintain six feet of distance (56%), providing employees with PPE such as masks (76%) and staggering shift changes and breaks (57%);
  • Of the employers taking such measures, 73% will require masks in public locations, with 24% requiring masks at all times.
  • 18% of employers plan to test employees for acute infection before they return to work.
  • Overall, 67% of companies have a process for dealing with a workplace exposure.
  • Employers are giving special consideration to at-risk employees, with 44% accommodating at-risk employees by creating more flexibility, and nearly 50% planning or considering such actions. Thirty percent of the employers who are accommodating at-risk employees are reassigning them to new roles that accommodate remote work or physical distancing.
  • 60% of workers telecommuted, compared to 11% a year ago.

Mindful parenting webinar

The next webinar in our community-focused series will take place on Wednesday, July 29, at 12 PM EST. 

Parents have a lot on their plates right now trying to manage during the pandemic, keeping kids occupied and teaching our children in a difficult world. Sheri Damon, LMHC will offer attendees strategies to stay present with their children while role modeling self-care.

Anyone is welcome to attend these sessions. Sign up here.

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Topics: Insider News, COVID-19

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