Return to Work Framework: Why It May Not Happen Quickly – or At All

In my previous post about transitioning from “work from home” to office (yes, back onsite once again!), I laid out questions to consider as you prepare to transition through the big return to work onsite.

It’s an exciting time, but it’s also still an uncertain time because we’re experiencing an unprecedented pandemic, and no one knows exactly what the causes and cures are for the Coronavirus / COVID-19. Therefore, all we can do is plan, plan some more, plan for contingencies and pivot if all of that doesn’t quite work for our return to work onsite.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t yet been asked to return to work onsite, you might not be aware of the logistics that companies are having to plan for and comply with in order to meet local, state and federal guidelines and orders, keep employees and customers safe, and still stay profitable.

Our new “new normal” will not be normal for quite some time – if ever. For example, here are the new procedures at San Antonio co-working space VenturePoint:

We have been working diligently these past two weeks to make sure our locations are ready to be reopened on May 4th. Our main concern is keeping our members and staff safe and healthy

This is why we implemented some changes starting May 4th:

  • All people entering any VenturePoint locations need to wear a mask.
  • Please continue to practice social distancing, we’ve rearranged our space to make it easier for you.
  • We are limiting the number of people that can be inside our conference rooms at one time
  • Our staff will have a digital thermometer to verify the temperature of all people entering the locations
  • We have set up health shields in our reception and common areas
  • Our tours will now be virtual for all prospective clients
  • We will also have at least one private office that can be used on an hourly basis

Let’s keep each other safe!

Masks? Health shields? Temperature checks? Six feet of space between every human being? Yes, this will be our “new normal” workplace for the immediate future.

If you’re an employee, you might be frustrated about not being told exactly when and how you’ll return to work onsite. Your frustration could stem from your leadership not realizing that they should keep you informed about the planning complexities involved with this. If you’re in a leadership position or own a small business, you might not have an idea of where to even begin planning for the return to work onsite.

Do you need to stagger employee shift times to prevent large groups entering and exiting at the same time?

Do you need to assign meal times to different groups of employees so they’re not leaving for meals or heading to the cafeteria or break room all at once?

Do you need to assign an employee to monitor the entry and exit of visitors?

Can your company operate profitably at only 25% occupancy or do you need to scale back the days and times your business is open?

To help you begin the return to work process for yourself or your company, Humana has shared a return to work framework and used their process as an example. If you work for a company, this will help you understand what management is grappling with and why they perhaps cannot yet answer your questions. If you’re in leadership or ownership, you might not have a company as large as Humana’s, but you’ll at least have a starting point for discussion with your team. You can download Humana’s PDF of their “return to work” framework here.

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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