It’s August 2021. We all thought COVID would be behind us at this point. We are all exhausted. We are all mentally drained. And as employers, you’ve spent the last nearly year and a half dealing with workplace changes, new laws, and constantly changing agency guidance. Unfortunately, though, it looks like the rest of 2021 could be more of the same. We’re here to tell you that you can handle it. The key is flexibility.
While you may be ready to return to the office, with variant surges and fewer public mandates in place, the best approach might be to continue to maintain a remote working environment for the foreseeable future. The past year and a half has shown that employers are capable of profitably operating in a remote environment. Certainly, it is not necessarily ideal in many situations. But we remind you that this is temporary. To be flexible, we recommend you do not yet put a date certain on your return to the office but continue to advise your employees that you will monitor conditions and you will return employees to the office as soon as you are able.
We also recommend flexibility when it comes to masks and vaccines. Masks and vaccines are an incredibly hot button political issue, unfortunately. But when it comes to the workplace and CDC/OSHA guidance, you are most protected as an employer when you encourage vaccinations and require masks in the workplace for workers who are unvaccinated (absent a local requirement that might require masks).
Flexibility is also key when dealing with employees. Just as you are tired and stressed, so are your employees. Providing flexibility in work times, PTO, and other items can keep your employees operating at their best and can help to minimize friction and other issues that could arise in the workplace.
We understand that we’re just lawyers. But our clients that have remained the most flexible throughout this entire year and a half have also been our most successful clients this last year and a half. Take that for what it’s worth!