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Return to Work Checklist- How Organizations Need To Handle It

4 min read
Last Updated on 01 February, 2021
Return to Work Checklist- How Organizations Need To Handle It

The world today is not only dealing with the current Covid-19 pandemic but also with changing working standards. As organizations across the globe resorted to a remote working stint, they are now looking at resuming re-opening offices and workplaces. Employers should understand that this is not their run of the mill grand re-opening. They should be ready with a return to work checklist to tackle with this nervy phase.

Every employer and organization’s checklist will and should look different. There might be various nuances that might be unique to your organization and you have to think of a unique way to tackle them. Having said that, there is definitely a more generalized version of various things organizations should look out for before resuming their on-site work.

Workplace Planning

Employers need to ensure that the workplace is as safe as possible. Organizations must understand that employees are not returning from a long vacation but rather a state of confusion and frustration.

Here are some necessary workplace safety measures that employers must ensure.

  • Proper health screening of each and every employee.

  • Awareness of how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 while being in close contact with other people.

  • Providing personal protective equipment like PPE kit, masks, sanitizers, etc.

  • Providing appropriate details of all the cleaning and sanitizing operations undertaken by the organization to all employees.

  • Establishing a safe distance between employees. Make sure you don’t start with 100% of your workforce. Start with somewhere about 20%-30% and then slowly ramp up as the situation improves.

  • Defining customer interaction. Limit the number of customers that can visit your workplace at a time. If possible you can also implement a prior reservation system if your workplace gets completely flooded with customers.

  • It is important to get proper knowledge of the current situation and regulations issued by the authorities in your area. Make sure you educate all your employees on the current regulations so that you don’t end up breaking any laws.

Listen to our podcast on: HR Return To Work Considerations With Sumit Neogi

Recalling Procedures

This part deals with how you will carry out the recalling procedures. You need to plan and organize how your workforce is going to resume working on-site in a planned and controlled manner.

If you advise all of your employees to resume on-site work on the same date, it might be chaotic, unsafe, and most probably will be a violation of the regulations.

  • Implement a workshare program that contains the complete details of which employees will be reporting to the workplace on which date.

  • Prioritize the high-risk sectors and give the employees of those sectors an option to continue with their remote working stint. Make a note of the increased protection or measures that need to be taken when they do decide to come back to work.

  • You need to have in place a measure of how you are going to deal with employees who are not willing to return to the workforce. You can improve their confidence by conducting an orientation program that addresses the safety measures you have taken.


We have seen quite a lot of employers and organizations making changes in their compensation or remuneration structures during this remote working stint. You need to address how the pandemic has affected the compensation package and pass on the required information to the affected employees.

  • Make an arrangement to check all the missed pay raise or performance reviews. This step should be one of the top of your priority list. Make sure you are able to communicate any necessary changes to all the stakeholders.

  • Decide whether you will be providing hazard pay or not. Since employees are working during these troubled times, they are going to expect additional compensation for the same. You need to address this issue even if you are not going to offer any hazard pay. This removes any confusion that might creep into your organization.

  • Decide how you are going to deal with the pay cut. If you have imposed a pay cut for your employees, communicate with them on how things are going to change(if they will) once work starts offline. If you didn’t introduce any pay cuts, you need to communicate with your employees on how you are going to deal with them in the future.

Changes in Policy

You need to address the global scene. Things are not normal and most probably won’t go back to normal with the snap of your fingers. Employers and organizations will need to come up with changes in their policies and communicate the same to the employees.

Here are a few areas where your organization can consider making changes.

  • You will want to change your lunchtime policy. Dedicating a common lunchtime might not be a great idea considering the situation.

  • Decide on your business travel policy. Since traveling pose a great risk, you should try to address this issue as soon as possible.

  • You will need to decide on the flexibility of your working hours. It would be advisable to have a flexible schedule in the beginning to keep contact between your employees minimum.

  • Telecommuting policies might need a revamp especially for those opting a public transport for telecommuting.

While returning to work might seem obvious, it won’t be so due to the current situation. The most detrimental effect of the pandemic will be indirect. The effect on the mental states of the employees. It is crucial at this point in time for employers to not carried away. Organizations should make full efforts at maintaining the engagement of the employees.

Of course, you need to understand that the above checklist is not an exhaustive list, but rather something to build from. But whatever happens, the core value of any organization remains the same. Employees are the greatest asset of an organization.

This article is written by Iftekar Ahmed. He works as a Content Creator and Digital Marketer at Vantage Circle. When he is not playing guitar or solving puzzles, he is often seen fussing over foods he can't eat because he is on a perennial dieting spree. For any related queries, contact