As states and districts gradually lift and reduce their shelter-at-home or similar orders, employees working from home are beginning to return to the workplace. Businesses are working hard to determine the best way to keep employees up-to-date and ensure they feel safe with plans to return to work.
COVID-19 Return to Work Letter Template
Download this template to help employees understand what support and protections they can expect when returning to the workplace.
Although there are still many unknowns, one sure thing is that workplaces will never be the same as before the pandemic. HR pros and managers are navigating the "new normal" by coming up with return-to-work plans that include everything from compliance with new guidelines to what workers can expect in the physical workspace.
In a sense, welcoming employees back is as involved as the onboarding process. Below, we'll explain how to create a return-to-work letter to send employees so they can understand what you require of them and what support and protections they can expect during this time. Check out our compliance guide to learn about more HR compliance issues.
What Should the Letter Say?
After a warm welcome back for all employees returning to the workplace, you'll want to address any changes they can expect to see. Depending on your industry, these changes can vary widely from moving desks around to staggered shifts to new cleaning protocols. You can read more about recommended changes to the workplace on the CDC's website.
Next, you must let employees know what you expect of them. Do they need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks? What should they do if they feel symptomatic? Are you going to be conducting health checks by taking employees' temperatures? It would be best to outline in detail in your letter so employees know what to expect.
Include where employees can go if they have questions or need additional resources. You could include posted signs outlining the new policies, contact information for their health insurance and health providers, or letting them know who in the company they can go to with questions or concerns.
Finally, now might also be an excellent time to inform employees of any new information, systems, or processes that might not directly relate to the pandemic. Do you have new benefits or incentives you would like to communicate? Will you be introducing a new performance review process in the upcoming months?
Download Our COVID-19 Return to Work Letter Template
We created an example of how this welcome-back letter could look. However, the letter's contents might vary greatly depending on your business' location, industry, and needs; this example isn't legal advice. That said, based on what we currently know about most shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, we have put together a starting place for your business to create your welcome back after COVID-19 letter:
To [Company Name] Employees:
Welcome back to work!
You'll notice various changes in how our workplace looks, as well as new practices and protocols. We understand these changes may be difficult and are here to support you. Our goal is to collaboratively ensure you feel safe and secure so that together we can navigate the complexities of our "new normal."
Here are some things we are implementing to help keep our workplace safe and to support you:
More frequent cleaning and sanitizing.
Access to hand sanitizer throughout the workplace.
Access to our employee assistance program (EAP) and other mental health resources (contact HR or [Name and email of person to contact]).
Staggered shifts so fewer people are on-site at one time.
More frequent communications on our business, projections, new policies and requirements, your health and safety, and measures we are taking to support you and our community.
New limits on the number of people allowed to gather in rooms, conference rooms, and communal areas at one time (no more than [x] people).
Here are some things we expect you to implement to help keep our workplace safe:
Go home if you feel sick.
Wash your hands often and for the recommended 20 seconds.
Stay at least 6 feet apart when moving through the workplace.
You may, but are not required to, wear a face mask or cloth face covering in the workplace.
Be considerate of your co-workers (remember, we're all in this together).
Call, email, message, or video conference as much as possible rather than meet face to face.
Be conscious and understanding of your co-workers who may be dealing with childcare issues, illness or loss of loved ones, financial insecurity, etc.
Speak with your manager, HR, or [Name and email of person to contact] if you have questions or concerns.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation, and welcome back to [Company name].
[Name and signature]
[Company Executive signature]
How Should the Letter Be Communicated?
The letter should be printed on the official company letterhead and distributed to employees. With GoCo's MagicDocs feature, you can create letters as templates and insert employee info from their profile, so you only have to make the document once and don't have to update it for each employee. This feature is a huge time saver, especially if you must include different information for different departments across your organization. With GoCo, you can also make this document available for employees to access on their own should they need to print another copy or reference it for any reason.
If you have questions about how to use GoCo to communicate remotely with your employees in light of COVID-19, contact us. Our team is on standby to help you navigate these unprecedented changes and make the adjustments as easy as possible to keep your business going smoothly.
The GoCo team is working hard to support HR pros through COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more tools and tips.
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