Return to the Workplace – Key planning links

See our more recent post: What you need to know about the Delta Variant (Covid-19) Related update:

HR Daily Advisor: OSHA Relaxes COVID Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Workplaces (June 10)
New Guidance : The new guidance says that unless required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial law, “most employers no longer need to take steps to protect their workers from COVID-19 exposure in any workplace, or well-defined portions of a workplace, where all employees are fully vaccinated.” Among other things, the guidance says employers should:

  • Grant paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and to recover from any side effects from the vaccine;
  • Instruct any workers who are infected, unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, and all workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home;
  • Implement physical distancing for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers in all communal work areas; and
  • Provide unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers with face coverings or surgical masks unless their work requires a respirator or other personal protective equipment.

US DOL: Coronavirus Resources
OSHA: Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace
OSHA: COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) – (See; Workplaces covered by the Healthcare ETS)
CDC: Latest Covid-19 information and resources
CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
US EEOC: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws
Littler: Facing Your Face Mask Duties – A List of Statewide Orders
Littler: Employee Temperature and Health Screenings – A List of Statewide Orders (8/3/21)
Littler: Bouncing Back (and Forth): Statewide Reopening and Mitigation Steps
K&L Gates: COVID-19: U.S. Employer Checklist (May 2021) – Reopening Strategies and Return-to-Work Policies After COVID-19 Pandemic
SHRM: COVID-19 Back-to-Work Checklist – February 2021 (may require membership or opening an account)
Coronavirus Law Blog – the latest case law and coronavirus-related workplace issues from employment law attorney Jon Hyman
SHRM: What to Consider When Moving to a Hybrid Work Model
Seyfarth –Beyond COVID-19 Resource Center – Various resources and insights from a law firm on what’s next as the US economy reopens.

Managing the workforce

HR Daily Advisor: Determining Whom to Bring Back to the Office – Considerations for companies and HR departments to consider when making these decisions.

HR Daily Advisor: Best Practices for Ending Pandemic-Related Work-from-Home Arrangements – 5 Steps to Get Back to Normal

Evil HR Lady – IncWhat You Should Not Say When Employees Return to Work – As the boss, what you say goes. But first consider these important legal and interpersonal issues.

SmartBrief: How to start the “back to workplaces” conversation – There is a gap between employer and employee attitudes about returning to work vs WFH (see Employees Want Flexibility) Have employers and employees had quality conversations to try to bridge this gap?

Fast Company: How to get employees ready to return to the office – Tips from HR leaders on how to motivate employees and other employer considerations for RTW preparation.

SmartBrief: Trends to expect when transitioning back to the in-person workforce – What are companies doing to return to pre-pandemic normalcy? And what operational items have changed for good? Here are some perspectives.

HR Daily Advisor: How to Return to Physical Workspaces if We Don’t Reach Herd Immunity – managing a mixed immunity environment.

SHRM: Communication Is the No. 1 Managerial Skill to Build Trust in Hybrid Workspaces – The concept of trust perception combines three psychological factors: competence, benevolence, and honesty.

HR Bartender: Employee Retention: Think About Post Pandemic Strategies

.HR Daily Advisor: A Post-Pandemic Shift in Work/Life Balance – A wide range of jobs actually can be performed remotely, opening up new opportunities for both employers and employees—and signaling a sea shift in considerations related to work/life balance.

Vaccines & the return to the workplace

See more on vaccines in our post What you need to know about the Delta Variant (Covid-19), including updated guidance.

Mental Health Challenges

Employers Advised to Prepare for Pandemic’s Mental Health Fallout as Employees Return – In Insurance Journal, Arianne Cohen cites APA data showing extensive markers of unhealthy coping—including disrupted sleep, increased drinking and low physical activity. She says, “All the research coming out now is really aligned,” Wright said. “Rates of depression, anxiety, substance use and suicidality have all increased.”

What doctors wish patients knew about post-COVID anxiety – In AMA, Sara Berg quotes Lisa MacLean, MD, a psychiatrist at Henry Ford Health System:  “People are feeling overwhelmed, uncertain, anxious, helpless, frustrated, stressed and exhausted … With the worsening of—and gradual decline in mental health—we are also seeing anger, depression, insomnia and increased substance abuse as well as a reported increase in isolation and loneliness.”

Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBQ) – The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides a tool for an integrated assessment of worker well-being across multiple spheres, including individuals’ quality of working life, circumstances outside of work, and physical and mental health status.

HR Daily Advisor: The Pandemic Has Taken a Toll on Manager Wellbeing – It’s time to take care of managers!

AAA: High (Pandemic) Anxiety – After a bruising year, removing the stigma associated with mental healthcare is more important than ever.

HR Web Cafe: Stressed out? Your EAP can help you manage your stress – stress management tips from our counselors and coaches

HR Web Cafe: Drug overdose deaths spike alarmingly during the pandemic – Learn how employers can help address the crisis.

Hybrid, Remote, and other return to work arrangements

HR Daily Advisor: DOL Issues Guidance on Posting Requirements in Remote Work Setting

How to Do Hybrid Right – In Harvard Business Review, Lynda Gratton says that employers are embracing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset work using a hybrid model, but to be successful, companies must approach the problem from four different perspectives: (1) jobs and tasks; (2) employee preferences; (3) projects and workflows; and (4) inclusion and fairness.

Research – The future of work: Employers, employees and the long road to compromise –  In EBN, Alyssa Place notes that while the majority of employees would like to work remotely in the future, just one third of employers envision a hybrid work environment for their organization one year out.

5 Models for the Post-Pandemic Workplace – In Harvard Business Review,  Daniel Davis says that where employees work has significant implications, not only for the design of workplaces, but for how corporations allocate capital and manage staff. But the jury is out, with some thinking that WFH was so successful that remote work is here to stay; others think people are starving for face-to-face interaction, and that central business districts are primed to come roaring back. And a third group believes that the future of work won’t be either of these two extremes, but a hybrid solution between home and the office.

Blending remote and in-office workers into a real team – In SmartBrief, Wayne Turmel looks at how leaders of hybrid and remote teams can incorporate new team members quickly and jump-start integration so that innovation, collaboration and communication are even better than before the pandemic.

Winners and Losers of the Work-From-Home Revolution – In The Atlantic, Derke Thompson notes that while the remote-work revolution might be a good thing overall, it will produce winners and losers. He looks at who these may be, .

5 Myths About Flexible Work – In Harvard Business Review, Manar Morales and Ivan Misner say that  a recent Harvard Business School Online study showed that most professionals have excelled in their jobs while working from home, and 81% either don’t want to go back to the office or would choose a hybrid schedule post-pandemic, but they caution that one size definitely does not fit all.

‘Touchdown spaces’, blended meetings and proximity bias: businesses tackle practical realities of hybrid models – In  Digiday. Jessica Davies cites a Deloitte report in which 77% of 5,500 surveyed leaders said they plan to incorporate hybrid work. She offers a look at some of the key considerations and how some businesses are approaching the new arrangements. .

HR Bartender: The Hybrid Workforce Edition – Sharlyn Lauby offers some excellent articles on key principles when planning for a hybrid work arrangement. She thinks hybrids may be the transition we all need.

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