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May 28, 2020 | Insights

Best Practices for Reopening Your Workplace

As cities and states across the country begin lifting stay-at-home restrictions, organizations are left to create policies and procedures for reopening their office spaces in a safe and responsible way.

TSNE Director of Human Resources Luzdy Rivera provides the following steps for you to consider when creating a reopening plan.

1. Create a Checklist

As a fiscal sponsor, TSNE supports over 60 nonprofit organizations across the nation. We created a checklist for all of our organizations to complete when considering their reopening dates and procedures. This list considers state and local reopening plans as well as best practices determined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Click here to view our sample checklist

2. Review Guidelines and Orders

Reopening guidelines vary from state to state and sometimes even from city to city. Be sure to review those local guidelines as you prepare for reopening. We also strongly suggest reviewing recommendations by the CDC and WHO as you write and implement health and safety policies and protocols for your office spaces.

3. Create Equitable Policies and Protocols

Before reopening your office spaces, you must create policies and protocols that address health and safety, sick leave, and management of COVID-19 cases with staff. It is essential that policies are implemented across the board and equitably, and that they ensure the health and safety of your staff and communities. It is also important to listen and respond to the concerns of staff, since they can help identify any gaps on protocols that you may have overlooked.

  • Health and Safety protocols will address social distancing guidelines, personal hygiene practices, cleaning of high and low touch surfaces, elevator and restroom capacities, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks.
  • Sick leave policies should be considered for individuals who do not qualify for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan guidelines. Think about how you can address staff who test positive for COVID-19 who have exhausted their sick and vacation time.
  • Provide reasonable accommodation beyond what is stated by law to support people with underlying conditions or who are considered high risk.
  • Create policies that explain how you will alert staff to positive cases of COVID-19 within your organization and/or building while also respecting privacy and HIPPA laws.

Your state government may also require additional policies to be put in place prior to reopening, so be aware of what your organization must have in place in order to bring staff back.

4. Work with Your Emergency Response Team

If you have not yet created an Emergency Response Team, you should do so immediately. Click here for our guide on how to create your team. Your Emergency Response Team will help review your policies and protocols to ensure that they capture everything you can include. They will also identify staff responsible for ensuring the rollout of policies and protocols as you reopen.

5. Train Your Staff

Training your staff on the proper use of PPE and other health and safety policies and protocols is required by law. Make sure you know how you plan on training your staff and who is responsible for those trainings.

6. Continue Work from Home as Much as Possible

TSNE is strongly encouraging all of their employees to continue to work remotely as much as possible. One of the biggest staff concerns we have is how to get to the office on public transportation — a health and safety concern we as an organization are unable to address. Since the health and safety of our staff is our number one priority, anyone who can work from home effectively will continue to do so — potentially even after our offices officially reopen.

Be flexible and modify expectations to enable your team to work remotely. People are facing daily challenges with their new routines in these unprecedented times, ranging from childcare to caregiving for relatives, to managing their own physical and mental health.

Sample Policy and Guide

TSNE is pleased to provide our return to workplace policy and guide for employees as examples for other organizations as you prepare to reopen your offices. It is our hope that by viewing our procedures, you will have a clearer sense of the information you need to cover before welcoming staff back into your office space.

Pandemic Response and Return to Workplace Policy

Return to Workplace Plan: Guide for Employees