The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the way we do business: cashless transactions, social distancing in public and working (or staying) at home are just a few of the ways we as individuals helped to flatten the curve. 

Also in an effort to reduce the rate of transmission, organizations shifted to a remote work modelor temporarily scaled down or shut down operations

Now, with fewer and fewer cases of COVID-19 reported daily, provincial governments have just released updated workplace guidelines to help restart the Canadian economy. 

If teams can continue working from home, it’s still the most recommended approach.

However, if some roles or departments in your organization require more face-to-face interaction or access to documentation or specialized equipment, it’s possible to have employees return to the physical office—but only if proper social distancing and hygiene protocols are in place (for example, hand sanitizers in prominent locations; masks and gloves for everyone to use; and personal workspaces set 2 metres apart). 

Related reading: Employee Reboarding: Back to Business After COVID-19

There’s also the issue of schools remaining closed and little or no childcare available for parents working from home. As an HR manager, it’s essential that you continue advocating flexibility for all employees with dependants, either children or relatives at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19. 

Use email or video conferencing to share any updates and decisions your organization makes regarding reopening your office. Expect (and allow) feedback, as some employees may not be comfortable sharing the workspace just yet. Encourage open dialogue and be transparent about the measures you’re taking to support your employees’ health and wellbeing. 

Related reading: Top 10 Shared Office Space Etiquette Rules: Coworking Infographic

Your organization has to make a number of essential changes to safely reopen. We’ve put together a free checklist to help guide you through these changes, including which policies you’ll need to update; how to ensure workplace hygiene; and how to implement social distancing protocols in the office. 

Download our Office Reopening Checklist: A Guide for Canadian Employers for free. 

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