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Exodus from home offices will be a trickle, not a flood, as economies reopen: Survey

5 things for leaders to keep in mind when preparing to welcome employees back


June 11, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

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As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, more employees may want to begin working remotely on a more permanent basis. (Adobe Stock)

Workers across Canada who have been toiling in their home offices should get comfortable, according to a survey of employers conducted by Gallagher.

With many parts of the country reopening economies after months of lockdown, many senior leaders are busy preparing to welcome employees back. But the return to commuting and office time will be more of a trickle than a flood.

Only a handful of employers — eight per cent —  plan on bringing back 100 per cent of eligible employees to the office. About one-in-five (19 per cent) are asking employees to continue working remotely.

Additionally, one-half (47 per cent) will continue their work-from-home policy weeks or months after stay-in-place orders are lifted.

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The Gallagher pulse survey found barely one-quarter (26 per cent) have developed a return to work strategy.

“The connection between organizational well-being and risk management has never been more apparent or important,” Gallagher said in a press release. “Your risk management, human resources and operations teams should work together to develop an action plan that addresses potential challenges to protect your people, property and organization.”

It provided the following steps to help employers reopen.

5 steps to reopening your business

 1. Determine eligibility to re-open: Monitor and assess the legal obligations your organization may face when reopening and help to guide decision making based on local, provincial and federal government directives. Document the information you’re tracking to help inform the development of policies and procedures should you decide to reopen.

2. Implement policies and procedures by role and function: Develop a plan that dictates clear, realistic and meaningful guidance of site-specific protocols and procedures that protect your employees. Make sure you have a plan and structure in place to communicate these processes and policies with employees and share new information as local, provincial and federal guidance evolves.

3. Implementation of facilities policies. Ensure your facilities can safely resume operations. This could include third-party cleaning and disinfection, facility safety checks, assessment of technology security, and the potential design and installation of new technologies intended to mitigate exposures from HVAC and other building systems.

4. Assess and manage operations supply chain and third-party vendors. A review of your systems and processes to ensure vendor compliance, identification of supply chain needs for increased PPE and sanitizer demands, and evaluation of how your organization’s compliance with current pandemic requirements can affect downstream customers and the public.

5. Maintaining customer and public relationships. Reaffirm your relationships with clients, customers and the general public with ongoing communication. Make it clear what policies, procedures and protection methodologies you’ve implemented and how you’re properly using physical barriers, management controls and procedures to maintain safety and an optimal workplace environment.