The uncertainty of COVID-19 seems to be the only certain thing these days. Just as many companies were making plans to return to work, the fast spreading delta variant is putting those ideas on hold. While some businesses are postponing their return-to-work initiatives, others are making new rules regarding vaccinations.
Over the past few weeks, big name brands like Google and Apple announced they’re pushing back their return-to-work date, while other corporations like Facebook and Slack are sticking with a mostly remote workforce.
On the other side, companies like Walmart and Disney are taking a different approach. Walmart said last week that all corporate staff and regional managers must be vaccinated before returning to the office. The Walt Disney Company has also instituted a vaccination mandate. The happiest place on earth will now require all its salaried and nonunion workers to get the COVID-19 shot.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission deemed it legal for employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their employees — with certain exceptions.
In the meantime, companies big and small are still trying to navigate what’s next. Workplaces across the nation are struggling to keep employees’ morale high and their company culture intact. Whether your office is postponing its return-to-work plan or moving forward, here are a few tips employers can use to help make the transition smoother.
- Let your employees know their mental health is a top priority and keep an open dialogue about how they’re feeling as they transition back to the office.
- Communicate your return-to-work strategy early so everyone knows what’s in store and there are no surprises.
- Try a phased approach. Ask employees to return a few days a week and build on that over the course of a few months.
- Consider a hybrid approach. Assess your company’s needs and whether or not you really need everyone to be physically present in the office.
- Let employees keep some of the perks from remote work, like giving them the ability to take a few hours off for things like doctor’s appointments or picking up the kids.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.
For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.