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Considerations for When and How to Bring Employees Back

June 5, 2020

By Mary E. Corrado, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

As Michigan enters phase 4 of reopening, organizations must decide how to phase their workers back into the office. I know several businesses who have already chosen to stay fully remote even once we reach phase  6 – post-pandemic. But not all business can support that, so how do you bring employees back safely?

I read an article on Forbes.com that discussed four issues to consider as you approach the return to work.

  1. How Fast to Return? – This needs to be carefully considered as we will still be required to social distance.  Unless you have very few employees and a large space, you’ll likely have to bring back employees in phases.
  2. How Much to Re-Engineer the Workplace? – Social distancing will likely require you to move around workspaces to create a safe work environment.  Employees need to be six feet apart from each other at all times.  You’ll also need to consider modifying kitchen or other shared space or regulating its usage.
  3. How Much to Transform Work? – It will be necessary to look at all work processes and adjust as necessary.  Do any positions interact with the public?  Who accepts deliveries? How will meetings occur?
  4. How Intrusive to Be? – Every organization will have to develop protocols for monitoring symptoms such as daily health screens, temperature checks, etc. The state of MI has released an application that provides a COVID-19 symptoms screening questionnaire for employees.  As an employer you will have to decide if this is sufficient or if you go beyond the questionnaire.

These are four very high-level issues to consider when returning to work. ASE has many resources available to you as you plan your return to work including:

COVID-19 Response Plan Template – ASE has created a template COVID-19 response plan. It’s free to ASE members and available for $99 to non-members.  Access or request to purchase here.

Back-to-Work Checklist – ASE and the Luminious Group have created a Back-to-Work Checklist, a guide for returning to work in the era of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Business Impact Survey – Return to Work Preparations – To view the full results of the ASE survey, click here.

Coronavirus Resources – Stay up to date as state and  federal response evolves.  View here.

Employer FAQs – Search our site for FAQs regarding all employer-related COVID-19 questions here.

The ASE staff has been fully remote since March and will likely remain so through much of the summer.  What are your plans?  Email me at mcorrado@aseonline.org.


SBAM created an editable template with new regulations outlined for the following industries: Barbering, Cosmetology & Personal Services, Sports & Entertainment Venues, and Fitness & Sports Facilities.

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