Employees working in business office while wearing medical face mask for protecting and preventing the infection of corona virus disease or covid-19

What to Do if Your Employees Don’t Feel Safe Returning to Work


This is the question popping up in many of your employees’ minds: What can I do if I don’t feel safe returning to work?

With COVID-19 not fully at bay, it’s understandable if some of your employees are not feeling comfortable enough to return to work.

We did a little digging and have some tips for what you can do to help your team if they’re not ready to come back to work.

Talk to Your Employees

We all tend to fear the unknown.

Will the workplace be safe? Can my boss make accommodations for me?

Will there be room for regular cleaning and sanitation? Will working increase my risk of exposure?

These are some of the unanswered questions that might be keeping your employees from wanting to return to work.

That’s why you should make it a top priority to talk to your employees.

Be sure to acknowledge their concerns and explain what you’re doing to keep them safe upon their return to work.

And most importantly, answer their questions. Your team might feel better about working once they know what they can expect their workplace to be like.

Know That Some Employees May Seek Accommodations

Are you aware of any employees who have an underlying medical condition that puts them at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19?

If so, be prepared for updates your employees may give you regarding any accommodations that might be necessary for their health upon returning to work.

Their doctor might have recommendations to help them navigate this virus safely while they work based on their health conditions.

Be sure you and your employees keep track of all documents needed for accommodations and special requests.

Some employees may ask you about their options for taking a leave whether it’s paid or unpaid to care for themselves or other family members at home who are at risk or currently need care for COVID-19.

Be prepared to discuss this with your team in case it comes up. Employees are researching their options, and some will do whatever it takes to not return to work anytime soon.

How You Can Help Employees

You will play the biggest role in helping employees to feel comfortable enough to return to work if they don’t want to come back.

The first question you might ask is, how can I help?

As an employer, it’s your job to make sure the workplace is always a safe place for your employees to work.

Continue to follow state, OSHA and CDC guidelines for keeping your workplace clean.

You may have to think like an employee if you want your team to come back to work.

If I were an employee, what would I want my employer to do for me to come back to work?

Once you ask yourself that question, ideas may pop into your head of how you can help your team.

But take note.

It’s going to take more than cleaning workspaces throughout the day to convince your team to come back.

Depending on the guidelines issued, some employees will strongly question your reasoning for bringing them back to work.

This is where you will have to target your employees’ need for safety to help them feel more comfortable about returning to work. After all, safety is one of our basic needs.

Are you willing to make accommodations for those who need it? Are you willing to maintain social distancing practices among employees?

Focus on how you will limit your team’s risk of exposure as they work together.

Your team needs to know that they can work and still be safe at the same time without major fear that working will increase their exposure. What are you doing to ensure they won’t be at risk for exposure?

Provide your team with details of what you’re doing to tackle COVID-19 in the workplace BEFORE you bring your team back. No one wants to return under uncertainty.

Once you have a plan in place that hopefully addresses all your team’s concerns, you might get less resistance about returning to work.

While we know returning to work can be a daunting task amid COVID-19, one of the best things you can do for your team is to do what will lead to a safe workplace for everyone.

We know these tips will help you start thinking about what you can do to make your workplace easier to return to.



Allied Insurance Managers’ blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and is not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. Allied Insurance Managers does not warrant any statements in this blog. Any statutes or laws or coverages cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct your legal questions to experienced counsel and specific coverage questions to your insurance carrier or independent agent.

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Headquartered in Rochester Hills, Mich., Allied Insurance Managers is one of the largest, privately-owned, independent insurance agencies in Michigan.