Businesses large and small have faced significant challenges over the last few months. Many have been forced to get creative to keep business up despite shelter-in-place orders and social distance guidelines, while many also had to close down operations when Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency.
Now, businesses are beginning the process of reopening to the public – and their employees as well. The state government announced guidelines for employers to follow as they reopen, and they must consider these carefully.
However, there are a few other elements that employers must consider.
Employers are responsible to protect an employee’s health
In California, employers have an obligation to preserve their employees’ safety and health in the workplace. Therefore, employers should:
- Ensure they take proper safety precautions and adjust sanitation policies;
- Provide employees with personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Monitor employees’ health but protect their privacy as well; and
- Establish a plan if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
If employers do not take measures to keep their employees safe, they risk facing potential lawsuits or fines for violating the standards set forth by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Can some employees continue to work from home?
Working remotely became the “new normal” for many employees in the last few months.
Even as businesses reopen to the employees and the public, it might be beneficial to consider delegating some employees to continue working remotely. This could potentially reduce the staff within the workplace and reduce the stress – and the risk – of reopening.
Communicate with employees proactively
Employers should keep their employees updated about the business’s strategies to reopen and bring them back into the workplace. Both employers and employees alike are feeling significant amounts of uncertainty as they move forward and enter the business world again.
But employers can reduce that stress and uncertainty by sharing their plans as well as the precautions they have taken to protect them. This can help all employees feel more confident as they return to work.