There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States. Almost all of them have been affected in some way by the current global pandemic, with many of them having to close their doors for good after being shut down for an extended period of time. 

If your business shutdown due to COVID-19, but is ready to open back up again, you’re probably looking to create a return-to-work plan. The only problem? But because you’ve never faced a challenge like this before, you’re not sure how to even get the process started.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the entire return to work plan process. We’ll help you get started, train your staff, and even assist you with making adjustments after your business opens back up.

That way you can make sure you and your employees, as well as your business, are well prepared for the challenges that the current world presents.

1. Know Your Local Rules and Regulations

If you’re getting ready to open your business back up, you first need to make sure you know your local rules and regulations before doing so. Failure to know these rules and regulations will lead to you inevitably breaking them, which isn’t something you want to do.

Depending on where you live, you can be fined quite heavily for breaking local COVID rules and regulations. Those fines will add up fast, leading to you having a bill that your business can’t afford to pay.

So, make sure you know what to do, and make sure your team knows what to do, so you can avoid this issue completely.

2. Prep the Workplace Well Beforehand

Getting ready to bring your team back to work after shutting down due to COVID-19? If so, you’re going to want to make sure you prep the workplace well before you let your staff back in your doors.

Our advice? Get together with a workplace rehabilitation management specialist and chat about what you need to do to get your building ready for your team. Lean on their expertise heavily, and don’t cut corners, so you can keep your staff happy and healthy.

3. Prep Your Employees Well Beforehand

Before you let your team come back to work, you’re going to want to make sure they’re ready to do so. More specifically, you’re going to want to chat with them about all the new rules and regulations that will be in place when they return.

The best way to do this? Have a company Zoom call where you can go over these rules and regulations with your team yourself. Then, let them ask questions, so you can make sure everyone understands what to expect before coming back to work.

4. Ease Employees Back Into Things

We get it. You’re excited to get your business back up and running at full speed. That means that you want to get going as quickly as possible, which is understandable, but can also be problematic.

If possible, you need to ease your employees back into things before letting them return to a normal work schedule. Try to have a day where everyone comes back for some training. That way you can make sure they’re ready to go when it’s time to open back up again.

5. Return Your Staff in Small Packs

To piggyback off of that last point, it’s important to take great care of your team during this time. Letting them return in small packs, so you can chat with them individually, is more than a good idea.

Also, try to limit the number of people you have at those training sessions we mentioned earlier. That way you can keep a close eye on everyone and confirm that they’re ready to go prior to open your doors back open for business.

6. Enforce All New Rules and Regulations

Even if your staff is a good one, odds are they’re going to be overwhelmed by all of these changes in the workplace. To make sure that they’re up to the challenge, you need to watch them closely, especially at first.

It may sound cheesy, but having any new, important rules and regulations written down somewhere can be helpful. Getting a sign made, and hanging that sign up on a wall, will help you remind your team of what is expected of them.

Also, be sure to use both positive and negative reinforcement when dealing with your team. That way they understand that you’re serious about these changes, and thus, take them seriously, too.

7. Listen to Valuable Employee Feedback

Of course, anytime you make serious changes in the workplace, your staff isn’t going to be too happy about it. The best way to deal with this is to maintain an open line of communication directly with your team yourself.

Listen to their feedback, and try to keep their feedback in mind, especially when making changes. Making only one or two changes that they suggest is often more than enough to ease any tension created due to new workplace rules and regulations.

Still Not Sure How to Create a Return to Work Plan?

As you can see, a lot of planning goes into creating an effective return to work plan. You need to know all new rules and regulations, and then inform your staff of those rules and regulations, so you can prevent any major issues from occurring.

That, combined with hard work and tons of preparation, will help you ease the transition back into work for you and your team.

Do you own a business? Looking for reopening your retail store, read this blog for details information.