Among its many impacts on society, COVID-19 has changed, perhaps permanently, how employees interact with each other and the workplace. This quick reference guide provides three checklists of items for businesses to consider as they begin opening their doors again to their workforce.


As some employees return to onsite work, at partial or full capacity, businesses are adapting their physical workplaces to protect their employees' health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Businesses should take measures to implement social distancing and promote good hygiene practices in line with best practices and local requirements. This may require equipping and reconfiguring workplaces to control occupancy and increase ventilation. Additionally, businesses should develop health screening procedures to monitor employees' health and prevent exposure to the pandemic at the workplace. Federal agencies, including OSHA, the CDC and the EEOC have published guidance for businesses developing plans to return to a new physical workplace.


In reaction to evolving workplace needs, businesses are either establishing telework policies or updating their existing employee policies to foster productivity, protect against cybersecurity threats and comply with changing laws. Specific employee policies that businesses should review include those related to technology, confidentiality, workplace conduct, compensation and employee leave. Businesses should update their hiring and onboarding processes for both new, and returning furloughed, employees. Employers should communicate policy updates to their employees in a timely manner and be available to answer questions that arise. When updating policies, consider applicable industry standards and the historic approach of the business to employee policies, as well as the business's compliance capabilities to ensure consistent implementation of policies that are adopted.


Employee engagement and wellbeing are critical to the strength and productivity of a workforce and must be assessed and monitored in the current environment. To increase employee morale and retention rates, businesses should consider whether to update existing benefits, compensation and recognition programs for remote and hybrid working environments. It is important to identify aspects of a business's culture that are valuable to the business, its leadership and its workforce, and assess whether those aspects are being sustained in new working circumstances.

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