Returning to the workplace: 4 ways to keep your staff safe amid COVID-19 reopenings

With COVID-19 restrictions easing around the country, small businesses are reopening their doors to the public and preparing for a busy season. Many business owners are looking for information about how to reopen safely to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, and preparation is key for a smooth transition.

Here are four ways you can help educate your employees as they return to the workplace.

Communicate with your employees

As a small business owner, it’s important to communicate with your employees about expectations on returning to the workplace. They may have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, what will be expected of them once they return to in-person operations and what happens next, should cases rise again. You can use this email template developed by the Health Action Alliance (HAA) to communicate with your staff, set standards for returning to work and reassure them that it’s okay to have questions. 

Make it easy for your employees to get vaccinated

Entrepreneurs have the right to encourage vaccination in the workplace, so it’s important to support your employees and provide information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. HAA has developed a helpful checklist for small business owners containing more information about where to make vaccination appointments, answering questions or concerns employees may have and much more.

Provide flexibility

Many individuals may still experience vaccine hesitancy, so consider measures that may help your employees feel comfortable returning to work. This may include offering flexible modes of work such as in-person, remote work and/or hybrid options. Consider what makes the most sense for your business and staff, and remain flexible whenever possible.

Be open to change

While cases of COVID-19 have decreased in recent months, policies and procedures are rapidly changing and are based on the knowledge we currently have. As of now, many states have removed mask mandates for vaccinated individuals but some are still enforcing those rules. It’s imperative to know what shifting mask mandates mean for small businesses and being open to constant changes. To make sure you’re following the proper protocols, check your state and local regulations and your industry-specific guides.

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