As states begin to slowly reopen, your company may ask you to return to work in the near future. While you may be anxious to regain some normalcy that a return to work will provide, it’s important that you weigh the health and safety risks you’d be taking before you go back into the office. While the spread of COVID-19 has slowed down in certain areas of the country, it’s critical that you stay vigilant and do everything you can to keep yourself and your coworkers from getting sick.
Here are five things to do so you can return to work safely:
Read up on your office’s safety measures
If your employer has announced that you should anticipate returning to the office soon, they have likely sent out a return to work safety manual and scheduled a training seminar to get you familiarized with any new office set-ups and procedures. Before you return to work, be sure to thoroughly review this manual and know what measures are being put in place to keep staff healthy. If you have any concerns or questions about these policies, do not shy away from speaking with your company’s designated return to work team. Since employee health and safety is a high priority for companies right now, they will likely appreciate the feedback!
Be transparent with your supervisor
Managers know that individual team members have different priorities and circumstances at home that may make them hesitant (or unable) to return to work. From a lack of childcare to high-risk family members and even your own mental health, there are a range of valid reasons why a return to work might not be feasible for you. If you’re concerned about how returning to work could affect you and your family, don’t hesitate to bring this up to your manager. They will more than likely be willing to work with you on coming up with a plan that suits both of your needs.
Maintain social distancing
When you do go back into the office, you may be tempted to reconnect with everyone you’ve missed while in quarantine these past few months. However, no matter how badly you may want to catch up and hang out with your coworkers, it is still critical for you to maintain social distancing precautions. This means that you should maintain space between desks and only have in-person meetings when absolutely necessary.
Have a checklist of items you need to maintain your health and safety
Back in the time before the world was changed by COVID-19, you probably had your own mental checklist of items you couldn’t leave the house without, such as your keys, wallet, and phone. Now, as you prepare to return to work, there are other necessary items you’ll need to have with you before leaving your home. If you’re going to return to your office soon, make sure you bring:
- A mask
- Hand sanitizer
- Sanitation wipes
- Your reusable water bottle
While your company will likely have these items available for staff around the office, you will likely feel better knowing that you have these items at your disposal throughout the day.
If you’re feeling sick, stay home
In the past, you might not have let the common cold or a stomach bug stop you from going into work. While you should have always stayed home to rest and recover, COVID-19 makes it absolutely critical that you stay home at any sign of illness. Since the symptoms vary so greatly from person-to-person and we are still learning so much about the disease, it’s best to be honest about how you are feeling and ensure you are following your employer’s protocols to prevent your colleagues from getting sick as well.