Resources for Return to the Workplace
Updated: May 21
As we mark the one year anniversary of being sent home to work, we know that returning to the workplace in the future will be forever altered. Many firms are thinking about hybrids of work from home alongside days in the office, some of which may be mandatory for all or for certain groups. As some of you know, my husband works for Blue & Gold Ferry and they have just announced to their staffs that the ferry service will be altered in the coming months to run more mid-day and later at night to accommodate new patterns of commuters who may be going to work mid-day for a shortened day or to work later than the ferries allowed pre-pandemic.
First and foremost, California employers should familiarize themselves with Cal-OSHA's new workplace standards, which include ALL employers to have emergency temporary plans for workers how are returning to the office. Temporary emergency plans include planning for illness, reporting requirements, quarantine responsibilities, signage and more. A sample Covid-19 Prevention Plan, which is required to be provide to employees in writing, is also available from Cal-OHSA.
The State of California has also put together a handy online, interactive guide for employers called Safer at Work which walks you through various considerations and allows you to enter your location for specific County advisories.
Other organizations also offer documentation and plans for the physical requirements of the new office. One highly acclaimed resource which is backed in research is the Fitwel Viral Response plan, a plan which grabbed my attention because of it also looks at supporting mental health while working from homes as well as addressing inequities and disparities in the evolving workplace.
If your office is located in San Francisco, the City has put together a list of requirements and plans which should be completed and posted. Walking through these checklists may be helpful if your County doesn't provide guidance.