Preparing for the Return-to-Office

By Donna Oser posted 9 days ago

No Mask No Service Image

As more and more Michiganders are vaccinated, association leaders are looking ahead to plan for a safe return to the office. This week's blog post explores the current state of return-to-office and tools associations can leverage now to make early preparations for a smooth return-to-office later. 

Current State of Return-to-Office

In effect since last October, the current restrictions ordered by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) will expire on April 14. While Governor Whitmer's administration has signaled the likelihood of a six-month extension on those restrictions, it also allowed for a possible progressive loosening of restrictions during the 6-month window. With considerable pressure from business groups - including many prominent MSAE member associations- Governor Whitmer appointed a Return-to-Office Workgroup to provide concise recommendations that will be used to inform MDHHS orders and MIOSHA rules as well as standards and best practices for employers to use in planning their own phased reopening. Association leaders should expect to hear more on this from the Governor's administration next week. 

Preparing for Return-to-Office

Associations needn't wait to further their preparations for return-to-office. Much can be learned from industries that have been open during the pandemic and, sadly, from businesses that have been fined for violations. Here are a few questions to prompt thinking related to preparation:  

  • Does your association have the required Preparedness & Response Plan? Has it been posted to your website and sent via internal networks? Have paper copies been made available? 
  • Has your association determined the risk exposure for various tasks and procedures?
  • Has the workplace been prepared for return to work with the necessary controls in place?
  • Is your health surveillance screening system in place?
  • Has the required training for employees been prepared and/or delivered?
  • Are necessary supplies on hand, e.g., Personal Protective Equipment, posters, etc.? 

Preparation Tools

The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and MIOSHA have provided a wealth of information. The following tools can serve to focus and direct return-to-office efforts:

Reopening Checklist

COVID-19 Guidelines for Offices

Office Workplace Guidelines Video

Workplace Safety Posters (free)

Sample COVID-19 Preparedness & Response Plan (direct download) 

Workplace Safety Resources (May be helpful for required employee training) 

COVID-19 Ambassador Assessement

MSAE will keep associations posted on the state of return-to-office. Meanwhile, the tools listed above will inform preparation efforts.