Returning to Work after COVID-19: How to Jumpstart your Business

19 MAY 2020

 

As social distancing rules begin to ease, many workplaces are transitioning back to working in the office. Businesses are faced with the task of keeping their employees safe and healthy to avoid any unwanted infection or COVID-19 outbreak within the office.

To assist with the transition back to the workplace, the Federal Government and the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission have developed the ‘COVIDSafe Plan’. That can be located on the Federal Government’s website. The COVIDSafe Plan provides a handy online planning tool to help businesses develop a plan to keep their workers, customers and the community at large safe.

What does the COVIDSafe Plan tool do?

The tool, called the ‘My Business COVIDSafe Plan’ helps businesses develop a clear plan for trading through and after the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are able to keep their employees safe.

The tool sets out clear processes for how businesses should assess any risks with re-opening. The key points to remember about re-opening include the following factors:

A. Maintain good hygiene.

B. Stay physically distanced.

C. Follow advice from the Government.

Adapting your Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to rapidly adapt to working online. Businesses should take this opportunity to work toward bettering itself for the future in case of another pandemic or for the overall benefit of improving business efficiency.

As part of the ‘COVID Safe Return to Work Plan’, businesses should identify what critical tasks they need to get the business up and running again, and then consider how the business can adapt to the ever changing environment.

This change can include working wholly online, partly online, with a reduced number of staff in the office or organising ways in which the business can easily transfer between online and within the office.

The COVID Safe Return to Work Plan recommends that businesses undertake some of the following tasks to get themselves back up and running:

  1. Contact your bank to reactivate merchant terminals;
  2. Reach out to employees to let them know that the business is opening up again in the office;
  3. Check in the office or building to ensure that it is ready to be opened including heating, water, electricity and all services that are required;
  4. Utilise your website and social media to alert customers and the wider community that you are open for business again; and
  5. Contact suppliers to determine which suppliers are open, closed or operating on restricted hours.

Support available to your Business

The Federal Government’s COVID Safe Return to Work Plan provides details about programs that employers can access to assist with returning to work.

This support includes details about wage subsidies, additional cash or loans, assistance with rent, information about workplace obligations and ways that you as an employer can look after employees’ mental health.

What does this mean for you?

As businesses return to the workplace, there are a number of factors that employers need to consider when re-opening. This ranges from communicating with employees and dealing with landlords, banks or service providers.

If you are a business owner who is concerned about obligations or rights during this difficult time, or if you are looking for legal advice regarding your situation, please contact Aaran Johnson on ajohnson@marsdens.net.au or Simon Kumar on skumar@marsdens.net.au or by phoning 02 4626 5077  to discuss.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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