How to build a COVID-19 back to work checklist

11 May 2020

Image displaying employees working in a socially distanced environment due to Covid-19
How to build a COVID-19 back to work checklist

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Building a back to work checklist is a key factor to take into consideration once lockdown has been lifted.

COVID-19 death rates have been falling across the world and plans to gradually ease the lockdown are being put in motion. This means that quality professionals are now faced with a new responsibility.

As people return to offices, factories and company sites in the coming weeks, keeping down the basic reproduction number (R0) of the virus will be crucial. It’s going to fall to quality managers and auditors to keep their colleagues as safe as they possibly can.

The Q-Pulse quality team has put together an example back-to-work checklist to help get your business ready. Access it below, and learn how to build it into Q-Pulse’s audit manager module.

COVID-19 checklist

The prospect of reopening your place of business straight after a global emergency can be head-spinning. A checklist is crucial if you are to plan effectively and reopen in a safe, compliant way. The Q-Pulse quality team put together an example back to work checklist to help you start your preparations:

Job status

The first thing on the checklist is to review everyone’s job status.

  • Set date for recalling furloughed, laid off or remote-working employees
  • Determine if recalled/rehired employees will return to the same position as before
  • Communicate return to work dates and any changes to working conditions to staff
  • Issue furlough recall letters to returning staff outlining return date, terms of employment, any changes to position, benefits and annual leave status, and any new policies and procedures

Required business changes

Determine if any of the following will be necessary for your organisation:

  • Hiring freeze
  • Freeze in contract work or temporary staff
  • Retraction/postponement of pending offers of employment to new starters
  • Delay or freeze in salary increases
  • Retraining or redeployment of staff to new areas
  • Offers of sabbatical, redundancy or unpaid leave

Policies, processes and procedures

Ensure you have clear policies outlined for dealing with the risk of covid-19 in the workplace.

  • Create clear line of action and responsibility for reporting and addressing suspected covid-19 cases in the workplace
  • Build communication plan to offer employees regular and timely covid-19 updates throughout your working areas
  • Build communication plan to offer real-time public health updates to all workers
  • Brief all employees on any guidelines, new policies and updates to working conditions upon their return
  • Brief all employees on the symptoms of covid-19 and how to spot them
  • Offer all employees guidance on how to report suspected covid-19 symptoms internally
  • Consider applicable laws, such as the GDPR or ADA, in relation to request or collection of employees’ medical data (if applicable)
  • Review company’s relevant insurance policies to check for coverage for damages incurred during lockdown period

Hygiene and infection limitation

Put in place the necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus and keep staff safe.

  • Consider implementing a temperature testing procedure that minimises any potential spread of infection
  • Consider covid-19 testing on any/all employees upon their return to work
  • Provide wipes, tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles
  • Provide hand sanitiser of at least 60% alcohol content in multiple areas for staff to quickly and easily access
  • Provide guidance and instruction to all staff on good working practices to reduce the possibility of infection spread
  • Inform all employees of correct hand washing protocols for the workplace
  • Put in place cleaning/disinfection procedures for high-contact areas and touchpoints
  • Consider mandating that staff wear masks, gloves and/or face coverings upon their return to work
  • Ensure the workplace layout properly facilitates social distancing of employees by providing at least 2 metres’ distance
  • Put shift/break staggering procedures in place to prevent large gatherings of employees
  • Offer staff the facilities and permission to continue to work remotely or meet via teleconference as frequently as possible

Vendors, customers and third parties

Make sure that social distancing is maintained when dealing with external parties.

  • Put a SOP in place to prevent deliveries and non-essential vendors from entering the workplace
  • Present signage and information to third parties approaching the workplace to inform them of any restrictions and guidelines for entry and movement
  • Where applicable, offer drop-off/ drive-through/ call-ahead services to customers to minimise physical contact
  • Erect plastic screens/barriers in face-to-face contact areas

This forms the basis of what should be included in your covid-19 back to work checklist. Read more about assuring the safety of your employees in our blog on returning to work after lockdown.

Written by

Alexander Pavlovic

As Ideagen’s Marketing Executive, Alex produces targeted content to help Ideagen’s readers and customers navigate the complex world of quality, governance, risk and compliance.

Alex has worked with brands such as BT, Sodexo and Unilever and is passionate about helping businesses build a cohesive, collaborative culture of quality.

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