Should return to work policies be delayed till 2022?

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The Covid-19 pandemic is terrifying enough by itself. It continues to complicate every sphere of our lives, affecting each of us mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, financially, and spiritually. We are left not only in mental headspaces worrying about ourselves but more so for those that we love; our families and our friends. Where does this leave us when we are mandated to return to work, when the possibility of contracting the virus is now more than ever, extremely high? Needless to say, the pressure, the stress and the anxiety can be too overwhelming! For this reason, giant international companies, such as Ford, Apple and Google are delaying their return-to-work policies until January 2022.

According to an HR Exchange Report, employers MUST engage their employees in dialogue in order to develop a comprehensive return-to-work plan. The report highlighted the importance of increased conversation between employer and employee to ensure that a plan is created that allows for employees to feel protected, confident and comfortable enough to return to work. According to the report, no employee would comfortably perform unless there was a system in place to protect his or her health. The report went as far as suggesting that without a proper and comprehensive plan, organizations could possibly lose their best employees.

According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce, return-to-work policies should be a gradual process, where screenings, social distancing practices, personal protective equipment (PPE) and employee childcare options are available. Making reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the report stated that employees’ tasks must also be assessed to eliminate any possible exposure to Covid-19.  The report also suggested that according to OSHA, there be scheduled office sanitization and encouragement of continued employee hygiene. Employers were also urged to reevaluate medical benefits and enhance health insurance plans where employees feel encouraged that should they contract the virus, they would be protected.