[Free Template] COVID-19 Return to Office Memo for HR

Use this free template to welcome back employees to the office after COVID-19

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Getting ready to go back to the office, but not really sure what to say? Use this editable template as you prepare your communications with employees returning to the office.

And while HR and compliance will have handled most of the logistics in planning a safe return to work, this information will be best received by employees as a message from the CEO or business owner. Copy and paste the text below into a Word document and make the necessary modifications to reflect your business’ needs.

COVID-19 Return to Office Memo

Dear Valued Team Members,

I have great news: it’s almost time to return to the office!

But before we get into the details, I’d like to take a moment to again thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, flexibility, and resolve over the past year.

When the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020, we had very little information. We were unsure of how the virus spread, how sick we might become, and for how long the pandemic would last. All we knew was that in order to keep ourselves safe, we had to socially distance as much as possible, which meant staying home.

Throughout the unending uncertainty of the past year, our leadership team had one constant — dedicated employees willing to work with us as we explored ways to keep our operations afloat. Thank you for trusting in our ability to find new ways to continue to provide the best goods and services for our customers, all the while caring for our employees.

More than a year later, we’re finally ready to begin our return to work. We’ll be reopening in 3 phases.

Phased re-opening

  • Phase 1: Full-time employees under the age of 60 without increased risk for serious illness are asked to return on [DATE]. We’ll be maintaining strict social distancing measures, and all employees will be asked to wear masks when social distancing is not possible and when moving about the workspace.
  • Phase 2: All full-time employees without risk for serious illness are asked to return, and non-essential business travel can resume on [DATE]. We’ll continue to strictly socially distance and wear masks.
  • Phase 3: Return to unrestricted staffing in our workspace. Date is to be determined based on the success of Phases 1 and 2 and the percentage of our workforce that has received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Some employees may be wondering if they’ll be permitted to continue working from home.

While our opinion is that we work best from the office, where we can brainstorm new ideas and collaborate in-person, we will continue to allow employees to work from home

[full time/part time/X day(s) per week] if they have decided that is their best and most productive way to move forward.

Or 

Some employees may be wondering if they’ll be permitted to continue working from home. While we understand that many have settled into working remotely, we will be asking all employees to return to the office based on their eligibility outlined in the 3-Phase approach above.

If you are hesitant about returning to the office, please speak with your manager as soon as possible.

Workspace changes

While we’re excited to “get back” to the office, you’ll notice some changes to our workspace. We won’t be congregating in conference rooms, or sharing a snack in the kitchen. Instead, we’ve designed our workspaces to ensure safety through social distancing. We’ve [raised the dividers between cubicles, created one-way entrances and exits, improved air ventilation (insert safety precautions your business will be taking)].

Because the CDC now knows that respiratory droplets suspended in air is a main way that COVID-19 spreads, we’ve paid special attention to ventilation. To improve ventilation in the office, we’ve [improved central air filtration / reduced air recirculation / installed HEPA filters / opened windows where possible / installed ceiling and floor fans / (see more options for keeping your office safe through improved ventilation here)].

We’ll also be asking our employees to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer regularly and to wear masks in the office when social distancing is not possible.

What, exactly, does this look like? If your workspace, including a cubicle, is within 6-feet of another employee, we ask that you wear your mask for the duration of your time at your workspace.

If you are working in a private conference room or office — alone — employees are welcomed to remove their masks. When employees are moving about the office, we ask that employees wear masks.

When to stay at home

Most importantly, we ask that if employees aren’t feeling well, they please stay home. Similarly, if you live with an individual who is not feeling well, please stay home. Additionally, if you’ve had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, we ask that you notify your manager and please stay home for 2 weeks, or until you’re able to produce a negative test result.

I know this has been a particularly challenging time for us all. But we’re encouraged by the progress being made with the vaccine and the prospect of what’s to come. Finally, after many, many months, there is light ahead, and we’re so excited to welcome you back to the office. We can’t wait to see you in-person.

Warmest regards and my very best,

CEO and the Leadership Team

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