Return to Work Considerations for Employers

As employers bring employees back to the office, employers should evaluate return to work considerations and procedures.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Implementing new safety protocols. This may be a good time to evaluate whether the company continues to meet to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s general standards and any increased recommendations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

  • Prioritizing morale and employee relations. COVID-19 presents an opportunity to increase employee morale and engagement. Employers may want to consider the importance of employee-facing programs to continue to support employees through these challenging times. Employers may want to consider training supervisors, encouraging open-door communication, and conducting opinion surveys.

  • Managing refusals to return to work. Are employees refusing to return to work out of fear of COVID-19 or for some other reason? Understanding the reason for refusal to return is an important first step.

It’s important for employers to work closely on each of these items with their human resources professionals as well as their employment counsel.

In addition to these general considerations, employers may want to evaluate any federal, state, county, or local requirements or recommendations that may reduce the further spread of COVID-19, especially as employees return to the workplace. Among these are the following:

  • Assessing distancing in cubicle and multi-user work and rest areas;
  • Encouraging social/physical distancing in break rooms or consider limiting their usage;
  • Considering discontinuing the usage of common devices, including but not limited to microwaves, staplers, and copiers or implementing ways to enhance cleaning of those shared tools;
  • Providing adequate personal protective equipment;
  • Requiring or permitting employees to use face coverings in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities;
  • Closing conference rooms that do not permit physical/social distancing and implementing policies for cleaning conference rooms, as well as communicating those processes and protections to employees;
  • Implementing policies or procedures for employees who arrive at the beginning of the day but leave the premises for breaks, lunch, or meetings;
  • Determining whether processes are needed regarding visitors;
  • Considering rotational office visits (e.g., shifts) to minimize the number of employees physically present in the workplace at a single time; and
  • Conducting training prior to employees returning to work to establish the new “normal” and establishing new requirements to minimize the spread of the virus (e.g., no handshakes or handshake alternatives).

Looking for more? Find additional business resources for navigating COVID-19.


This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.