May 13, 2021

With many states lifting workplace restrictions, companies across the country are beginning to explore how to safely reopen.

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From offices and retail locations, to restaurants and other spaces, companies are finding solutions to how employees and customers gather.

Earlier this week, the Health Action Alliance and the National Safety Council (NSC) convened public health and private sector experts to offer trusted advice on strategies for reopening that prioritize worker and customer health and safety.

Companies are optimistic about reopening

According to a poll of HR professionals conducted by Gartner, 45% of companies plan to reopen offices in Q3 with more expected in Q4. The best time to plan for your company’s reopening is right now.

HAA and its partners continue to provide businesses with the tools they need to navigate a safe and supportive return to physical workplaces and normal business operations:

  • Our Guide to Safer Workplace Returns, developed with NSC, is a comprehensive resource to help employers better understand and plan for the broad range of infrastructure, medical, emotional, and personnel considerations that come with reopening workplaces and building our economy.
  • Our Tips for Safer Workplace Returns offers employers up-to-date advice on how to ensure reopening is a collaborative effort with employee buy-in.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s new playbook - Planning for the Next Normal at Work – is also a great resource to help business owners plan ahead.

[GUIDE GRAPHICS]

Couldn’t make it to this week’s Town Hall? You can view the full event here and sign up for upcoming events on our Events Hub! Below, we’ve compiled the best learnings from our expert panelists and key resources to help ensure your company’s workplace return policy leaves your business stronger and safer.


Helping Employers Navigate Safer Workplace Returns

Collaborate and communicate with employees.

Develop and coordinate any expanded operations efforts with a diverse and multi-disciplinary team that represents all the organization's needs and includes employee participation. This approach will ensure that the needs of one sector don't inadvertently override the needs of another. Our Guidance for Safer Workplace Returns offers a great starting point for inclusive planning.

Consider on-site COVID-19 screening if feasible.

Determine whether testing at your organization would be beneficial based on factors such as the type of workplace, the level of risk for COVID-19 transmission, rates of community transmission, and if workers have increased risk-factors for severe illness. The CDC offers helpful guidance to determine if on-site screening is right for your specific workforce conditions.

Offer transportation options that minimize exposure risks.

“We want people to think about how workers are getting to the office. Are there resources for offering ride sharing?” Weber Shandwick SVP of Client Experience Courtney Jones told our attendees. “Is there a platform for workers to “pod up” and commute together?” By clustering workers together for morning commutes, employers can minimize the risk of unexpected exposure to COVID-19.

Keep updated on CDC guidelines.

“We need to have a lot of humility and recognize that what we talk about today may not necessarily be as precise and correct six months from now or even a week from now,” CDC Deputy Director of Respiratory Health Dr. Lew Radonovich told attendees. As our public health landscape continues to shift, monitoring CDC and state public health officials is an effective way to stay informed. We’re also committed to reflecting the latest public health guidance in our employer resources.