Return to Work Plans

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has interrupted many businesses across the country. While it’s unclear how long COVID-19 will continue to affect organizations, many employers are looking to the future of employees returning to work.


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Echoing the sentiments of public health officials, a return to normalcy won’t be like flipping a switch, but rather a gradual effort. In preparation for reopening your business and asking employees to come back to work, it’s imperative that your company thoughtfully constructs a return to work plan for its employees to keep everyone healthy and safe following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that this article should be used for informational purposes only and should not supersede applicable state or local guidance. Additionally, please review any workplace-specific considerations, which could be more involved depending on the industry you operate in, when drafting your return to work plan.


Return to Work Plans: An Introduction

A return to work plan is typically created to help reintegrate workers who have been injured or have been on leave. The plan includes details on how the worker will gradually return to work and any job-related specifics. Its purpose is to formalize steps for a safe and quick return to work.

There are many benefits of return to work plans for both the employer and the employee. Employers can enjoy increased employee engagement, proactive cost containment, reduced turnover, increased communication and improved morale with an established return to work plan. And it’s been proven that employees who go through return to work plans are able to get back to work quicker than those who don’t, meaning that employers will see increased productivity following an employee’s return to work.

Employees also benefit from return to work plans, as they feel supported by their employer, which increases their engagement and loyalty to the company. Going through a return to work plan also helps them get back to work faster and increases the likelihood that they feel secure and stable in their role.

The benefits of return to work plans are undeniable. While these plans are typically customized on an individual basis, you can use the basics of a return to work plan to build your company’s approach to asking employees to return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID-19 Return to Work Plans

COVID-19 has caused many businesses to shut down or transition their employees to work from home, disrupting daily work life for many. As stay-at-home regulations are scaled back and all businesses are allowed to resume as normal, your employees will be asked to come back to work. While they may not be coming back from an injury or leave, you need to have a plan in place for all employees to safely and successfully return to work.

While you may need to tailor your organization’s COVID-19 return to work plan to employees’ specific needs (e.g., child care arrangements, caregiving responsibilities and health issues), having a generalized plan in place can help you safely reopen your business.

Your COVID-19 return to work plan should include the following:

Your return to work plan should be tailored to your business’s unique needs and should follow local and state regulations. Reach out to PayneWest Insurance for assistance with creating a unique return to work plan for your organization.


Return to Work Considerations

Returning to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to bring challenges to your organization. Some of the most common challenges that you’ll need to be prepared for include the following:

Remember, reopening your business after the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t as simple as opening your doors. You’ll need to carefully evaluate each step of your reopening and gradually ask employees to return to work.


Continued Safety

The next phase of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic involves reopening your business. While this task may seem daunting, we’re here to help every step of the way. Contact PayneWest Insurance today to learn what actions you need to take to ensure your employees’ return to work is as seamless as possible.