COVID-19 Return to Work Instructions, Guidelines, and Checklists
Get your employees back to work safely with this return to work toolkit
Editor’s note: This page was last updated May 2021. We will continue to update these pages as we publish more resources for SMBs and HR managers. Do you have an idea for an article you would like to see added to this kit? Email [email protected]
With many states reopening, small businesses across the country are more than ready to open their doors and get back to “business as usual.” Except, there’s no blueprint for reopening — It’s not as simple as hanging a “now open” sign. And what may work for a small retail store who invites customers into their stores, may not work for an office that is opting to keep employees at home.
Enter this toolkit, where we include a full range of information to help your small business reopen after COVID-19. We’re here to help you with tools, strategy, and forms to communicate with employees and customers.
What can you expect?
- Return to Work Guides
- Memos and Templates
- Tools and Checklists
- Employee Engagement
- Other Resources
Return to Work Guides
As small businesses plan their re-openings across the country, many business owners are wondering if they should bring employees back to the office, pivoting to a 100% remote workplace, or some type of hybrid.
First, if your company has been working remote …
- Use this guide to evaluate if remote work is working for your company, or
- Evaluate what’s the best return-to-work policy
If you have decided to continue remote work or have a hybrid model where employees work from home and in the office, check out these guides.
Remote work guides
- Remote First! A Primer for Small Businesses
- Establishing Work-From-Home Parameters with Your Employees
- Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Guidance on Remote Work
- A Guide to Onboarding Employees Remotely
Hybrid work guides
Return to the office guides
A recent Workest survey of 1,000 small business employees found that the majority of respondents (67%) said they will be heading back to the office in some capacity. If you’re one of the companies planning a full return to work, use these guides to navigate reopening.
- COVID-19: Return To Work Guidelines and Requirements for Employers
- COVID-19: A Small Business Guide for Getting Back to Work
- Making Your Office Safe to Return to After Coronavirus
- An HR Manager’s Guide to Planning a Return to the Office
Memos and Templates
In this section, we have customizable memos and templates HR managers and small business owners can use to address employees and customers. Copy and paste these sample memos into a Word or Google document and modify to fit your business’ needs.
- COVID-19 Return to Office Memo for HR
- COVID-19 Email Templates: Communication with Customers About Coronaivrus
- If You’re in HR, Send this Email About Coronavirus to Staff
- Email Examples and Templates for Staff and Customer Correspondence
- Essential Business Sample Letter and Memo to Employees
- Employee Return to Work Memo: 9 Things to Make Sure You Include
- Return to Work: Should Your Business Implement Travel Restrictions [With Sample Memo]
Tools and Checklists
From employee safety to compliance, there’s a lot to think about as you’re reopening your business. Use these checklists to get an idea of what action you will need to take.
- COVID-19: A Checklist for Returning to Work
- Checklists for Reopening Business After COVID-19
- Post-Pandemic Readiness Checklist for Your Workplace
- Hiring a Fresh Workforce After COVID-19: Checklist and Guide
- COVID-friendly Holiday Parties: A Checklist for Keeping Employees Safe
- COVID-19: Return to Work Guidelines and Requirements for Employers
It’s simply not enough to open your doors and expect your employees to jump right back in after working a year-plus in a pandemic. It’s important to engage your employees, which means they are working hard and being productive on behalf of your company. Engagement matters because it helps with employee retention. Here are some resources to understand employee engagement and surveys you can use to get an idea where your workforce is at.
- 5 Reasons to Conduct Your Own Return-to-Work Employee Survey
- Employee Engagement Surveys During COVID-19
- 6 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement and Enthusiasm
- Employee Empathy Is Crucial For Employees Amidst COVID-19
- Effective Employee Engagement Strategies: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Teams Motivated and Happy
Posters to Print and Hang
Posters are an easy, visual way to keep your employees and customers informed about your policies. There are a number of posters you can hang in your business, covering symptoms, cleaning and disinfection procedures, cleaning protocols, sick leave, emergency operations, and mask use.
Here are some other posters you can use:
- Stopping the Spread of Germs
- How to Protect Yourself and Others (Poster 1 and Poster 2)
- Wash Your Hands
- Symptoms of Coronavirus
- 5 Tips to Sanitize Your Phone (And Other Devices)
- Funny, Free and Ready to Print COVID-19 Signs for Businesses
- “Face Mask Required” Signs
- Free, Downloadable COVID-19 Printable Signs in Spanish
If you need additional posters, the CDC has a library of posters you can download and print.
Here are additional resources to look over as you begin to plan your re-opening.