Getting employees back to work from remote work – about whether

As the economy unfreezes, companies will phase out remote work and economic downtime. Does every employee have to agree to return to the office?
After more than two months of government restrictions implemented due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, employees who previously worked remotely or were subject to temporary downtime are gradually returning to work. It is essential that companies prepare adequately for their return.
First of all, the employer should carry out a new risk assessment for individual positions. It should take into account not only physical, biological and chemical risks, but also psychosocial risks.
Once the risk assessment has been updated, the next step is to create an action plan, including appropriate safety and control measures to eliminate the hazards or, if this is not possible, to minimise the risks. Such an action plan should include:
*technical measures (collective protection measures, e.g. plexiglass enclosures, separation of workplaces by partitions); it is necessary to take care of efficient and effective ventilation of work rooms,
*organisational measures (e.g. continuation of remote working, especially for the most vulnerable workers, shift work, increasing the duration and number of breaks, assigning only qualified workers to specific jobs),
* personal protective equipment
*behavioral measures (e.g., observing compliance with management rules and guidelines, supervising workers),
*anti-epidemic measures (e.g. provision of means for disinfecting hands and elements of the work environment – worktops, handles, handrails, technical equipment e.g. shared printers and copiers; increasing the frequency of cleaning of work premises, and in particular hygiene and sanitary premises – appropriate organisation of breaks, including meal breaks, to limit the number of people present at the same time in the canteen, social room, kitchen, bathroom and checkroom).
In the opinion of the PIP, the main aim of the activities should still be to reduce – as far as possible – physical contact between employees.
It is necessary to put up posters in conspicuous places encouraging to stay at home in case of illness, informing about the rules to follow when coughing and sneezing and about the rules of hand hygiene and guidelines for the use of masks and gloves if workers have to wear them.

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