A Guide to Developing Your COVID-19 Return to Work Plan

Best Practice Guide

When returning to office operations after COVID-19, understanding the business risk will be paramount

The back-to-work drive should be treated like any other emergency, crisis, and continuity operation at your organization, which means get a dedicated team involved. After all, team-driven operational planning is central to most successful responses.

How to go about it? Choose a coordinator and/or team and task them with defined roles and responsibilities for preparing to return back to work. Often, crisis response teams include representatives from the Board, C-suite, Communications, Legal, Operations, Finance, HR, Facilities, and IT. Having a representative from the Safety and/or Risk team makes sense, as well, when addressing the business recovery aspects of the COVID-19 crisis.

Organizations might have a pandemic response team (an offshoot of the larger crisis response team) in place already. Given some of the thematic continuities between crisis response and recovery planning efforts, it might make sense to task your preexisting team with return-to-work planning duties, as well.

Along those lines, teams, particularly in the healthcare and public safety sectors, might already be using versions of the Incident Command System (ICS), as their pandemic response structure. Those structures can also accommodate a return-to-work scenario. ICS or not, though, your response team should ensure effective command, control, and coordination of the return-to-work effort.

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