When COVID-19 numbers began to rise, many employers started to lay off employees or ask that they work remotely from home. While COVID-19 cases are still on the rise across the country, employers are starting to send many of those employees back to work full-time. While it’s likely a relief to get back to work, are you really ready to return to the workplace?
Is it Safe to Return to Work?
After being told it was unsafe to work for so long and now being asked to return, you’re likely questioning whether or not it’s really safe to return to full-time hours. The answer to that question isn’t a simple one. Yes, it’s possible for a return to work to be safe, but only if certain guidelines are followed. Your employer should be following the guidelines given by the CDC. Employees should be practicing social distancing at all times. If social distancing is not possible, dividers should be placed between workspaces. All employees should be required to wear a facemask in the workplace. COVID-19 screenings including temperature checks and questionnaires to identify if anyone has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case are also helpful and highly recommended tools to keep the workplace as safe as possible.
Evaluating Your Personal Risk
Certain people are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. If you are considered high-risk, it’s best to continue working from home if possible. High-risk groups include immunosuppressed individuals, pregnant women, elderly people, and those with any chronic respiratory conditions. If you feel that it’s unsafe to return to the workplace, talk with your employer to determine how to make it safer and discuss what methods are already in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Should You Get Tested Before Returning to Work?
Some employers are opting to require COVID-19 testing before employees are allowed to return to work. While this is a helpful tool to identify active cases, an employee that tests positive should not be ruled out from returning to work for the rest of the pandemic. Instead, they should be retested after 14 days and once a negative test is received, it’s safe to return to work with the COVID-19 precautions mentioned above. Antibody testing can also be used to determine if someone has been exposed in the past and now has an “immunity” to the virus, although it’s unclear how long that immunity lasts for.
Visit your local urgent care center or walk in clinic before returning to work to get your COVID-19 testing or antibody testing done at a convenient and affordable location!