Return to work planning

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted businesses across the country. While it’s unclear how long COVID-19 will continue many employers are looking to the future of employees returning to work.

Echoing the sentiments of public health officials, a return to normality won’t be as simple as flipping a switch, but rather a gradual effort. In preparation for reopening your business, or getting back to capacity, it’s important that your company thoughtfully constructs a return to work plan to keep everyone healthy and safe following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that this article should be used for informational purposes only and should not supersede applicable national guidance. Additionally, please review any workplace-specific considerations, which could be more involved depending on the industry you operate in.

Return to Work Plans

A return to work plan is typically created to help reintegrate workers who have been injured or have been on leave. The plan includes details on how the worker will gradually return to work and any job-related specifics. Its purpose is to formalise steps for a safe and quick return to work.

There are many benefits of return to work plans for both the employer and the employee. Employers can enjoy increased employee engagement, proactive cost containment, reduced turnover, increased communication and improved morale with an established return to work plan. And it’s been proven that employees who go through return to work plans are able to get back to work quicker than those who don’t, meaning that employers will see increased productivity following an employee’s return to work.

Employees also benefit from return to work plans, as they feel supported by their employer, which increases their engagement and loyalty. Going through a return to work plan also helps them get back to work faster and increases the likelihood that they feel secure and stable in their role.

The benefits of return to work plans are undeniable. While these plans are typically customised on an individual basis, you can use the basics of a return to work plan to build your company’s approach to asking employees to return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Return to Work Plans

COVID-19 has caused many businesses to shut down or transition their employees to work from home, disrupting daily work life for many. As stay-at-home regulations are scaled back and all businesses are allowed to resume as normal, your employees will be asked to go back to work. While they may not be coming back from an injury or leave, you need to have a plan in place for all employees to safely and successfully return to work.

While you may need to tailor your organisation’s COVID-19 return to work plan to employees’ specific needs (e.g., childcare arrangements, caregiving responsibilities and health issues), having a generalised plan in place can help you safely reopen your business.

Your COVID-19 return to work plan should include the following:

  • The anticipated return to work date
  • Disinfecting and cleaning measures
  • Your social distancing protocols
  • Any employee screening procedures
  • Employee safety training
  • What personal protective equipment will be provided
  • Your ‘staying home whilst sick’ policy
  • Mental health considerations and assistance
  • Your process for individualised requests as you may need to deal with everyone individually, and consider their personal circumstances.

Continued Safety

The next phase of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic involves reopening business. While this task may seem daunting, we’re here to help every step of the way. Contact us today to learn what actions you need to take to ensure your employees’ return to work is as seamless as possible.

While this is not an exhaustive list of practices it does provide a guide. For more information on how to prepare your organisation for future success, contact Edison Ives Insurance Solutions. Edison Ives are proud members of the British Insurance Brokers Association.


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