The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. For the most part, many of us have been working remotely instead of on-site. With a stronger understanding of the virus and what can be done to prevent spreading, companies are starting to open back up and return to their regular workdays. There are a lot of steps these companies have had to take to do this, and you, as an employee, might have a lot of questions needing to be answered to feel comfortable to return to work. This guide will help you navigate what questions you need to ask your employer and what you will need to do to return to on-site work.
The first thing that must be done for you to consider coming back to work on-site for your job is, “What precautions are your company taking to ensure the safety of its employees and customers?” Safety should be their number one priority; they cannot have people catching the virus! They may require everyone in the building to wear a mask, employees’ temperature recorded before work, new sanitization protocols, and social distancing. If they are not taking these precautions to stop the spread, consider what you can personally do to help.
If you are uncomfortable with any part of integrating yourself back into work, you need to make it known to your superiors. Make requests of the company to accommodate you for you to be comfortable returning to work. This could mean setting up glass screens where there is public interaction or limiting the number of people allowed in your place of business at one time. This could mean that you are on a schedule to come in on certain days and work from home on others. Know your limits and enforce them.
When this pandemic started, many people labeled it as “the time of uncertainty,” which has a lot of truth. We don’t know what is going to happen from day to day. There could be an outbreak somewhere, and everyone has to go back to a stay at home order. The government could demand that everyone wear masks for a long period or get vaccinated when it comes available. We just do not know what will happen. With that being said, you should be prepared for big changes at your company that happen fast. This could come from one of your coworkers getting the virus and everyone going home for a week. When you return, there may be new protocols and ways of doing work. Just be prepared; no one knows what is to come.
To ensure your safety and others, do a self-assessment every day on your health. Are you showing signs of coronavirus? Is there any change in your physical health from the day before? Take your temperature and check-in with yourself before work so that everyone can stay healthy—also, check-in with your mental health. Going back to work might be causing you more stress than before, given the stakes of getting the virus. Take care of yourself, physically and mentally.
No matter what you do for a job, ask your co-workers and superiors for patience with you. It is hard to integrate after being away for so long, especially with so many new changes. It also will take some getting used to the new safety protocols that have been set in place at work. You may forget one step in the new system or mess up in some way, just ask for patience. They will forgive you and be understanding, this is all so new to all of us, and everyone will have grace and humility. Also, have patience with everyone who you come in contact with as well. Everyone is in the same boat, just be understanding.
Now that you are back at work, and interacting with more people, be aware of who you are around, who could be showing symptoms and who they have been around. This can be curtailed by social distancing; however, sometimes, that just isn’t enough. Be more cautious about being around the people you live with. You may be more exposed than your roommates or family members who could put them in danger as well. Just have an awareness of who you are getting in contact with and who you will be around later on. There is a lot to keep track of, but it is a matter of importance, especially when coming to your loved ones.
Coming back to work after being remote due to COVID-19 may be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you and your company are taking the precautions that need to be taken to prevent spreading, everyone should be safe. Know what you are comfortable with doing and be patient with everyone. The only thing that we can ask is to do the best that we can. Be diligent and show compassion.
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