Safely Returning to Work from COVID-19

Safely Returning to Work from COVID-19


As states across the U.S. lift certain restrictions implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19, following protocols for cleanliness and contact are of the utmost importance. Now, that goes without saying but it may prove more difficult in practice than in theory. 

The Center for Disease Control offers detailed guidelines for sanitation. These are, by and large, standard and easy to follow. 

  • Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards
  • Ensure adequate ventilation
  • Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
  • Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
  • Avoid mixing chemical products
  • Label diluted cleaning solutions
  • Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets

Other recommendations, including avoiding close, personal contact with both colleagues and customers, require some change in routine: Staggered scheduling, not accepting cash payments and only handling cards via containers, etc. This may be a hassle out first, but ultimately not difficult. 

The more difficult task facing some employers and businesses comes not from COVID-19 preventative measures, but returning to staffing numbers lost over three months of quarantining. 

The owner of a skincare studio in Southern California told CareerCast that her business lost employees who needed to pursue other employment opportunities or move during shut-down. 

"We have a backlog of clientele who are eager to come in after three months," she said of her business, which is one of the latter-stage industries approved for reopening in the state. "Add the restriction on amount of people we can have in the space at a time, and on top of that, reduce the number of staff, and it's overwhelming." 

Although not an ideal situation for the proprietor, the problem runs fortunately counter to the state of the current job market. Employment reached numbers not seen since the Great Depression during the spring, but those discouraged by the dip as a result of COVID-19 may be able to search more aggressively in the summer months. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from April reported a 7.5 percent in turnover; a historically abnormally high number, but a vast improvement from the 9.7 percent reported in March. The immediate increase — and, if our case-study's situation is a wider reflection of employers at large — suggests a deluge of hiring commensurate with how smartly businesses act in re-opening. 

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