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Experts Share Thoughts on Building a Return to Work Plan on Launchways Webinar

Many businesses are preparing to transition to return to work in a continuously COVID-impacted world. Many states are starting to loosen COVID-19 related restrictions and open back up, and others are sure to follow suit.

Whether you already have a start-date in mind or do not know when it will be safe to bring employees back into the workplace, it is important to develop a return to work plan now to prepare your business for the inevitable reopening.

To help our clients and our community get back to work safely and effectively, Launchways held a comprehensive webinar on May 15, “Everything You Need to Know to Build a Return to Work Plan”. Our panel included experts in commercial real estate, human resources, executive management, and labor laws. They spoke for over an hour, addressing a staggering range of topics that employers will need to address to get back to work.

Luckily, we recorded the webinar and it is available to stream on-demand. We’ll share the link at the end of the article, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at each topic that our panelists addressed to get you started down the path to business as usual during the new normal.

Meet the Panel

Each of our panelists brought decades of valuable industry experience to the presentation. We were extremely lucky to field such an experienced panel, which included:

Bill Sheehy, Executive Vice President, CBRE: Bill is an experienced Executive Vice President at CBRE with a demonstrated history of being a top producing broker for almost two decades. Bill specializes in helping his clients through acquisitions, dispositions, lease negotiations, and more.

Heather Bailey, Partner and COVID-19 Task Force Member at SmithAmundsen’s: Heather Bailey is a partner in SmithAmundsen’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. For 18 years, Heather has concentrated her practice in employment and labor counseling and litigation, including discrimination and trade secret/non-compete lawsuits, FLSA class actions, labor negotiations and arbitrations, affirmative action, OFCCP/DOL audits and FINRA issues. She counsels on day-to-day operations, human resources, and management decisions regarding employees, practices, and policies.

Jim Taylor, Founder and President, Launchways: Jim is the CEO and Founder of Launchways. At Launchways, Jim focuses on bridging the gap between Finance and HR. He helps Finance leaders take a data-driven approach to Human Resources and Employee Benefits, allowing them to have more productive relationships with their HR team members. Jim is passionate about helping fast-growing businesses approach the people side of their business strategically.

Building a Return to Work Plan

Create a Cross-Functioning Steering Committee

The first step in building your return to work plan is to assemble your team. That means putting together a cross-functioning steering committee headed by a program lead who will engage the individual players and keep the ball rolling. While the whole leadership team needs to be involved in the decision-making process, giving one member ownership over the project will help keep your efforts focused and productive.

Next, get everyone involved in your organization: business leadership, finance, HR, IT, operations, and management. Not only will their voices be useful in developing an effective plan, but you will need their involvement to implement that plan.

Finally, engage your key partners including your corporate real estate partner, third-party providers for any outsource functions, as well as HR and benefits partners. Your property manager or building owner is a very most important partner to engage in your planning process as facility readiness is a key part of the reopening process.

Once you have everyone at the table, it’s time to put together your plan.

Facility Readiness

Before you bring your team members back into the workplace, you have to make sure that it is a safe environment free of the risk of infection. Jim and Bill explored how you can get your facilities ready for your team to return to work.

Your facility readiness responsibilities begin as soon as your employees walk through the front door. Work with your commercial real estate partner to establish shared policies for common areas of your building including elevators and entrances to the building and your offices. Elevators are going to be a particular pain point that you will have to figure out before opening.

Next, assess the cleaning requirements for different spaces in your office. Some may need more, or different, attention than others. Consider which areas are high-traffic or high-touch. These areas may need daytime cleaning, which you will have to work into your budget.

Finally, establish a space configuration plan that meets enterprise distancing standards. This plan should include:

  • Desk policies
  • Conference room policies
  • Gathering space policies (break rooms, kitchens, etc)
  • Access and traffic flow policies

Allowing Employees to Return to Work

After the space is ready to receive them, it’s time to start bringing employees back into the workplace. As part of your Return to Work Plan, you will need to determine who will come back into work and when. This depends partially on the state’s phase of reopening as well as federal guidelines.

When establishing this plan, employers need to differentiate between essential and non-essential workers, particularly when it comes to in-person work at a non-essential business. For example, in Illinois, non-essential businesses are required to maintain a remote work policy for everyone except for “Minimum Basic Operations” staff. You should also consider protective measures for those at higher risk, including telework and tasks that minimize contact.

Heather also explored the legal issues around requiring employees to return to work. The short version is that businesses that have been authorized to reopen and are implementing proper safety precautions can require their employees to return to the workplace. She also reminded employers that employees who choose not to risk losing their unemployment benefits. If employers are struggling with employees resisting returning to work rather than collecting unemployment, they can report those employees to the unemployment office. However, you must maintain a safe workplace to assert these rights.

That is why it is important to train your employees on proper distancing, cleaning, and safety best practices. You must also provide employees who will not be able to maintain 6-foot distancing with appropriate PPE, at your cost. And be ready to make accommodations for individual employees or customers who will not or cannot use PPE because of a disability or religious belief. There may not be a reasonable accommodation that you can make but you have to go through the process to protect your legal interests.

Heather also explored additional concerns including transportation and childcare. While employers are not responsible for employee’s transportation to and from work, they should do what they can to minimize the risk and assuage fears through proper education and scheduling. Employers also need to be prepared to respond to requests for remote work or time off to take care of children, including extending remote work or offering flexible scheduling or a leave of absence. Bearing in mind that employees who refuse to return to work because of childcare requirements may be eligible for benefits under the federal CARES Act, including unemployment.

The bottom line was that employers should try to be creative and think of possible solutions to each of these issues before they open up because these issues will come up.

Employee Health Screenings

Heather explored the legal and practical aspects of employee health screenings, a key area of concern for many employers considering their return to work plan.

She started by laying out the legal protections for employee health screenings. The EEOC has issued guidance on temperature and symptom checks before letting employees return to work. In the era of COVID-19, temperature checks also fall under “job related and consistent with business necessity” mandatory employee medical testing as allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That being said, it is important to notify your employees of temperature and symptom screening measures in advance. It’s also important to emphasize that the purpose of the screenings is solely to protect employees from exposure to COVID-19 and not to detect any other illness, impairment, or disability. Finally, make it clear that it is not meant to be, nor is it, a substitute for a medical diagnosis.

Keep in mind that the laws and guidelines around testing may change over time, so plan to keep up-to-date and revise your policies as necessary. And as always, be prepared for requests to be exempted from screening due to medical or faith-based reasons. You may also have to compensate employees for time spent getting screened or waiting to be screened. While federal law likely does not require compensation, state laws may and employees are already filing lawsuits against their employers seeking compensation for time spent on screening.

Lastly, make sure that you have the equipment, personnel, and protocols in place before you start opening up. You should equip your team members who will be conducting the screenings with proper training and protective equipment. They are going to be on the front lines, protecting your workplace and team from exposure and risking exposure themselves in return, and should be treated as such. And you should minimize the risk of spreading the virus through screening. Meaning that touch-free thermometers and other safety measures are a must.

Establish a Timeline

Once you know how you are going to ensure that your employees return to work safely, it’s time to set a timeline for the transition back to work. This should be a week-to-week plan starting when the criteria for reopening are met. Bill presented a sample 90-day timeline based on CBRE’s 55-page reopening playbook:

  • Opening Criteria Met: the clock starts as soon as the community readiness criteria are met and reopening plans are in place
  • Week 1: “Readiness Teams” return to make final preparations
  • Week 2: Employees who can work remotely continue to do so, while those who cannot start to return to the workplace
  • Weeks 3-4: Select teams/employees return to the office, continued guidance to work from home if possible, return to the office is not mandatory
  • Week 5: Refine approach based on employee return levels and ability to maintain safe distancing and other safety practices
  • Recurring Status Review: Recurring 30-45 day status review process, updating guidance and processes as necessary

Other Topics

Our panel explored a range of further topics that employers will have to consider when allowing their employees to return to work. These topics included:

Potential discrimination concerns when it comes to implementing and enforcing new policies. Policies tend to be framed relatively loosely which leaves room for often-unintentional discriminatory enforcement. Furthermore, remind employees that it is illegal to harass or discriminate against coworkers based on race, national origin, color, sex, religion, age, disability, or genetic information. There continues to be xenophobia and discrimination directed towards Asian Americans due to COVID-19 and it is your responsibility to advise supervisors and managers of their role in watching for, stopping, and reporting any harassment.

Issues around hiring including your rights to delay the start date or withdraw the job offer for a new hire who tests positive for the virus and cannot safely enter the workplace. However, being a high-risk individual is not grounds for postponing the start date or withdrawing a job offer.

Potential lawsuits and the current state of workers compensation, particularly recent developments in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission rules. Industry associations successfully got the Commission to withdraw its emergency rule that allowed any employee who tested positive to receive worker’s compensation. But employees can still receive worker’s compensation if they show that they were exposed to the virus through their work. Luckily, Heather outlined a Worker’s Compensation Questionnaire that will help employers protect themselves from fraudulent claims.

Stream the Webinar

Believe it or not, but we have barely scratched the surface of the wealth of information that our panelists shared during the webinar. That’s why we recorded the webinar and made it available to stream anytime you want. Stream the webinar on-demand now.

New COVID-19 Requirements, Regulations and Legislation Won’t Stop, Is Your Business Prepared to Adapt?

As many businesses begin to officially reopen, it’s more clear than ever that COVID-19 has changed the reality of our workspace. The constant but piecemeal flow of new guidance related to COVID-19 has become a business challenge unto itself – maybe the most important one of our time, and as businesses work to reopen, it’s easy to feel like we simply don’t have enough information to do the best possible job.

In this post we’ll explore:

  • Why it’s so easy for the best and most well-meaning business & HR leaders to feel overwhelmed right now
  • The variety of areas in which COVID-19 has created new responsibilities for employers
  • How businesses can connect with resources to ease this transition into the new normal

The Growing Challenge of Staying Up to Date on Compliance

The federal government’s official response to COVID-19 began just two months ago on March 18 with the passing of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), mandating the expansion of paid sick leave and FMLA leave.

Since then, a variety of government agencies, from the CDC and Department of Labor to OSHA and Homeland Security have published temporary policies, interim guidance, and regulatory FAQ sheets with an eye toward helping businesses and individual American employees weather this storm.

Unfortunately, the flood of guidance during a time where many organizations were maintaining skeletal operations teams has led to information overload across much of business. Everybody wants to comply with the new regulations and follow best practices to protect employees, defeat coronavirus, and restore the economy, but staying up to date on COVID-19 has become a major job unto itself.

Clarifying the Picture: What Businesses Need to Focus On

The current situation presents three specific needs businesses must address:

  • Staying up to date on guidance as it is released
  • Implementing guidance and best practices in a well-organized way
  • Maintaining great documentation to ensure compliance and qualify for tax credits as applicable

If your business’ COVID-19 response and reopening strategy doesn’t have a comprehensive approach for those needs articulated, it’s a recipe for falling behind.

Staying up to Date on Guidance

An incredible variety of government agencies have published guidance or temporary policies to address the COVID-19 pandemic and economic reopening. It’s essential to know about the guidance currently on the books as well as each new piece of legislation or regulation as soon as it’s published.

This means monitoring the websites of relevant government agencies or signing up for alerts to get news about updates as soon as possible.

Implementation

Knowing COVID-19 guidance and policy is only the first part of the battle. You also have to bring those instructions and expectations to life in your workplace and among the members of your team.

You need to have specific plans in place to address all sorts of best practice implementation needs, including:

  • Reconfiguring your workspace
  • Providing & training employees on PPE
  • Smooth internal processes for transitioning employees on and off of leave
  • Temporary hiring procedures for team members who may have expired I-9 documentation

Maintaining Documentation

Federal payroll tax credits will be key to most businesses fully recovering from the financial effects of COVID-19. Thankfully, the CARES Act provides that relief, but ensuring your business gets that credits it deserves requires a strong approach to documentation.

In order to get the relief you deserve for providing your employees with paid leave, you need to provide specific documentation, and some of those requirements are only now being clarified. That means proactive recordkeeping and attention to detail are more important than ever for HR and payroll professionals.

Providing Powerful External Support to Core Business Function

Given all the new responsibilities we’ve discussed related to COVID-19, it’s easy to see why many business, finance, compliance, and HR leaders are feeling overwhelmed. One way to take pressure off your core team while also ensuring compliance is to start a relationship with a dedicated HR support partner.

With an outside specialist taking the lead on reviewing evolving guidance and breaking it down into executive summaries and actionable policy/procedural checklists for your leadership team, you can carry out a powerful reopening that’s backed by best practices without that effort subtracting from your ability to do business.

Takeaways

If you’re feeling overwhelmed from a business perspective because of the steady but disconnected flow of new guidance from various government agencies, you’re not alone! Remember:

  • Keeping up to date with COVID-19 policies and legislation has grown into a job unto itself and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future
  • It’s crucial that all businesses stay current on guidance, implement identified best practices in thoughtful ways, and maintain strong documentation in order to maximize tax credit opportunities
  • A designated HR partner (like Launchways!) can pick up the slack on COVID-19 regulatory concerns, enabling your business to get back to doing what you do best

How to Learn More

At Launchways, we specialize in providing HR, payroll, business insurance, and employee benefit support to organizations so their leadership can make the most of their own time and expertise. We are proud to partner with some Chicago’s most innovative and forward-thinking businesses to strengthen the local business community and connect organizations with the knowledge, tools, and human support they need to do their jobs better than ever.

During this challenging time, we encourage all business leaders to access the resources on the Launchways COVID-19 Emergency Resource Center.

Restarting & Revitalizing Your Workplace Culture in the Age of COVID-19

As more states begin their official economic reopenings in the wake of COVID-19, many organizations feel like resuming the work itself isn’t the biggest challenge. For many of us, reengaging and rebuilding our teams of talented professionals and getting them motivated and bought-in to the new way of work is an extremely daunting task.

Many people are scared, distrustful, and depressed right now, and that is the exact opposite of the recipe for a successful team. Whether they know it or not, professionals are hungry for their employers to help them feel normal and plugged-in again. That means employee culture and engagement should be points of emphasis for every business in the coming weeks and months.

Identifying the Best Aspects of Your “Pre-COVID” Culture

It may seem like a long time ago now, but less than three months ago, you had a thriving community sharing a physical space and working towards common goals – some of your team members might even have compared it to being part of a family!

The realities of COVID-19 mean that workplace culture and team atmosphere can’t resume with perfect continuity. With that said, there is the potential to create a new, even stronger community by porting what worked about your previous approach onto new methodologies and emerging best practices in light of COVID-19.

How Do We Figure Out the Best Parts of Our Culture?

Your team members are the best source of information when it comes to which parts of your workplace culture, employee wellness initiatives, and daily perks really make a difference for them. You can get that information through employee culture surveys, which can be blasted out team-wide via email as you plan your return to the office.

If possible, you should do this work in the weeks ahead of your reopen to give your new initiatives the most possible planning time. However, if getting people back into the building is the main priority, you can use the opening weeks of the return to work to gather this data to inform your employee engagement strategy.

What About Employee Mental Health?

Workplace culture and collegiality are crucial to creating a positive work environment that drives work people can be proud about while robustly supporting people’s humanistic and mental health needs to prevent tension, frustration, and burnout.

One of your culture survey’s main goals should be determining what services you were providing that people found really valuable pre-COVID. Did they value seeing their colleagues in contexts other than work? Did they appreciate making time for serious conversations during the work week? What made them go home feeling good about themselves at the end of the day?

What Strengthened the Team?

As the old axiom goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” While it may sound trite at first, bringing your employees together to create a true team is the difference between having a great approach to human capital management and just being a “job” where people work.

Another main concern of your employee surveys should be to identify what aspects of your pre-COVID-19 approach brought people together to create a more functional, vivacious unit. What made people feel like true colleagues and not just people who worked in the same space? How did you help team members discover, appreciate, and celebrate each other’s strengths? How did you foster an environment where people understood and were not judgmental about their colleagues’ areas of need or weakness?

What Gave People a Sense of Shared Purpose?

If you’ve got people feeling positive about themselves and their work and functioning as part of a thriving team, there’s only one real component left to a great culture: shared goals and purpose.

In order to get your employees reintegrated into the work and making up for lost time, you need to figure out what messages, incentives, and motivational tactics really worked for them. What about your organization or leadership did they find inspirational? What about the nature of your work makes team members feel good about what they’re doing? What approaches to shared success and shared failure spoke to them?

Leveraging Technology to Modify & Modernize

Once you’ve drawn out the aspects of your workplace and employee culture that really worked and inspired excellence, you’ll likely have a long list of activities and approaches that feel like a real challenge to recreate in the context of social distancing.

At first, this can feel discouraging, but luckily, the last few months have seen an explosion of remote communication and interaction platforms that enable us to continue positive community interactions without the risk of viral transmission.

Migrating Physical Interactions Online

Video conferencing and project management platforms have picked up much of the slack during our time away from the office, and they also offer opportunities for employee culture reengagement.

Think of ways you can allow people to “take a walk” to visit friends in other departments for a quick chat like they used to. Provide people with document sharing and collaboration tools that make it just as easy to work together as if you were sitting at the same table. Consider meeting in a text-based chatroom where people have time to think about their responses and process other people’s ideas at their own pace.

All of these are different ways we can use emerging work tools as culture tools as well!

Embracing an Opportunity to Grow & Redefine the Work

It’s important to understand that there will not be a cut and dry way to completely recreate our previous approach to office life and employee culture post-COVID-19. We will need to stay open-minded and identify employee needs in order to find solutions and approaches that support them.

With that in mind, this is an opportunity to grow and redefine what it even means to be a business, a team, and a professional. The new work will be finding ways to continue and extend intellectual and communal closeness without the benefit of physical proximity.

If we stay open minded, remain grounded in what we know works and what employees need, and keep our ears to the ground for the best emerging tools and solutions, we’ll be able to reopen the business space in a powerful way that makes all of us better.

How to Learn More

If you’re an HR professional or business leader looking to guide a successful reopening as COVID-19 continues, be sure to download Launchways’ Complete Return to Work Toolkit. The toolkit provides a variety of checklists and other resources that help you consider reopening from every conceivable angle, including:

  • Recalling furloughed or laid off employees
  • Modifying your physical workspace
  • Best practices for employee safety
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • New policies for meeting, communication, shared space, etc.
  • Bringing people together while distancing

How to Implement COVID Screenings at Your Business [Plus a Template for How to Announce New Screening Procedures to Employees]

We all know that we need to modify the way we work to adapt in the wake of COVID-19. One of the main changes businesses are exploring is daily employee health screenings.

Health screenings help employers protect their teams and ongoing work by keeping coronavirus out of their offices. However, many employers aren’t sure how to roll out a program or approach communicating with their team about the transition toward workplace COVID screenings.

In this post we’ll:

  • Describe what an effective COVID-19 employee screening program looks like
  • Explain what employees need to know about your new health screening procedures
  • Provide a memo template you can use to communicate with your employees in a way that explains your program and builds buy-in
  • Connect you with more resources to simplify and strengthen your return-to-work plan

What Strong COVID-19 Screening at Work Looks Like

A Clear Team & Point of Contact

COVID-19 screening should be conducted by a designated professional or team with strong knowledge of CDC guidance on COVID-19 symptomology and prevention. Those professionals must be protected with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves, and potentially face shields, to protect their own health and minimize their potential as vectors for the employees they’re screening.

Temperature Checks

Employees should be checked for temperatures upon arrival at work and sent home if they exhibit fevers of 100.4 °F or higher.

How do we capture temperatures in a safe, compliant way?

Temperature checks should be carried out with a touchless temporal thermometer and avoid direct skin contact to minimize potential spread of the COVID-19 virus and other germs.

Respiratory Health Screening Questions

In addition to checking temperatures, your screening team should have each employee complete a short questionnaire describing their current respiratory health with an eye towards identifying red flags.

This guide from the Department of Health provides guidelines for which symptoms should be included in a COVID-19 employee health screening, including providing a model questionnaire.

What Employees Need to Know About Workplace COVID-19 Screening

Of course, the final piece of a great implementation plan is a strong employee communication strategy. When you’re communicating with you team effectively, it fosters engagement and helps your employees see that you’re focused on safety and taking steps to reopen with everybody’s health in mind.

Before you reopen with your new workplace health screening system in place, you need to contact your team through whatever official channels you’ve been using during your temporary shutdown or remote work to alert them that screenings will be taking place upon your reopen and providing them with the information they need to comply with and feel comfortable with this new procedure.

Below, we’ll provide a memo template we’ve built to help businesses simplify this process. First, though, let’s talk about what information your employees absolutely need to know to reduce return-to-work anxiety and ensure your workplace reopen is a success.

Why You’re Screening Employees at Work

To some people, lining up for a health inspection as you head into work sounds like something from a dystopian science fiction novel. You need to set a positive tone and help your employees understand that these new procedures are for their health and wellness, not simply the wellbeing and liability of the company.

The better you can explain your rationale for new health screening protocols in a humanistic, talent-centric way, the better you’ll be able to win buy-in.

When/Where Screening Will Occur

Before your reopen occurs, employees need to know how to comply with the new COVID-19 screening protocols. That means you they need to know when and how often screenings occur, where to go, and who to make contact with.

Remember, you can only expect compliance and enthusiasm about your new procedures when you’ve made the effort to communicate. If people show up to work and see a line they’re not expecting, it’s a recipe for disharmony and frustration.

What the Screening Entails

Nobody likes to go into any kind of “test” without knowing the expectations. Your health screening procedure needs to be clear and transparent for employees ahead of time to reduce anxiety.

What kind of questions will they need to answer?

Your employees should know the respiratory screening questions they’ll be asked ahead of time to ensure they understand what they’re being asked and have the opportunity to ask questions about interpretation of either your HR team or their own personal healthcare professional.

How will temperature checks work?

No one likes the idea of being poked or prodded, especially with a potentially virus-covered tool. By ensuring your employees you’ll be monitoring their temperature using no-touch tools and will have screeners use PPE in a way that aligns with best practices, you can minimize anxiety about the physical aspects of the health screening.

Launchways’ Employee Health Screening Memo Template

How to Use This Tool

The following template provides a basic form letter you can modify to inform employees of your new COVID-19 screening protocols. Keep in mind you’ll need to make some modifications to this memo, including:

  • Adding your company’s name
  • Clarifying the effective date for screenings
  • Specifying the location for screenings
  • Communicating who will carry out the screenings
  • Establishing a point of contact for questions/concerns about this process

The Template

Memo: COVID-19 Employee-Screening Procedures

Effective [date], all employees reporting to work will be screened for respiratory symptoms and have their body temperature taken as a precautionary measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Every employee will be screened, including having his or her temperature taken, when reporting to work. Employees should report to [location] upon arrival at work and prior to entering any other areas of [company name] property.

Each employee will be screened privately by [insert name or position] using a touchless forehead/ temporal artery thermometer. The employee’s temperature and answers to respiratory symptom questions will be documented, and the record will be maintained as a private medical record.

Time spent waiting for the health screening should be recorded as time worked for nonexempt employees.

An employee who has a fever at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or who is experiencing coughing or shortness of breath will be sent home. The employee should monitor his or her symptoms and call a doctor or use telemedicine if concerned about the symptoms.

An employee sent home can return to work when:

  • He or she has had no fever for at least three (3) days without taking medication to reduce fever during that time; AND
  • Any respiratory symptoms (cough and shortness of breath) have improved for at least three (3) days; AND
  • At least seven (7) days have passed since the symptoms began.

An employee may return to work earlier if a doctor confirms the cause of an employee’s fever or other symptoms is not COVID-19 and releases the employee to return to work in writing.

An employee who experiences fever and/or respiratory symptoms while home should not report to work. Instead, the employee should contact his or her immediate supervisor for further direction.

How to Learn More

If you’re an HR professional or business leader looking to guide a successful reopening as COVID-19 continues, be sure to download Launchways’ Complete Return to Work Toolkit. The toolkit provides a variety of checklists and other resources that help you consider reopening from every conceivable angle, including:

  • Recalling furloughed or laid off employees
  • Modifying your physical workspace
  • Best practices for employee safety
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • New policies for meeting, communication, shared space, etc.
  • When extending work-from-home is the better option

Launchways Partnering with Atrend Safety to Simplify COVID-19 Workplace Safety Updates

For the last two months, businesses and professionals around the nation have held their breath waiting for the go-ahead to reopen and get back to work. Now that those orders are in place and the dates to resume business are nearing, it’s essential that physical workspaces across America are ready to support employees and keep everybody safe and healthy under the rules of the new reality.

In light of these emerging needs, Launchways is proud to announce our partnership with Atrend Safety, a local Chicago-area company that has been reborn with the purpose of enabling employers and employees to get back to work in the safest possible environment.

In this post we’ll:

  • Introduce Atrend Safety and their approach to workplace safety
  • Describe the services available to Launchways clients through Atrend Safety
  • Explain how you can learn more

Meet Atrend

Before COVID-19, Atrend was one of the industry’s most respected international manufacturers of electronics and audio equipment, especially for vehicles. However, with the coronavirus crisis, Atrend decided to retool their production facilities to create personal protective equipment (PPE) and other workplace safety equipment to support social distancing.

If you’re interested in learning more about Atrend’s electronics and audio empire and their community-focused reemergence as Atrend Safety, click here!

What Can Atrend Safety Do for Launchways Clients?

Atrend Safety provides end-to-end workplace COVID-19 safety services, including assessment of your current environment, recommendations for PPE and safety strategy based on CDC and WHO recommendations, and assistance creating your new employee safety policy.

Once that assessment and plan articulation are completed, Atrend Safety can connect you directly with the PPE you need, including:

  • Disposable face masks
  • Reusable/washable facemasks (with your company logo or preferred pattern)
  • Face shields
  • Gloves
  • Vinyl floor graphics to communicate foot traffic patterns
  • Thermometers and body temperature checking stations
  • Hand sanitization stations
  • Safety screens for cabs and ride shares

Launchways and Atrend Safety

Atrend’s pivot toward PPE is a perfect example of how Chicago-area businesses are coming together and problem-solving in new ways in the wake of COVID-19. Their dedication to enabling the work of their colleagues in the Midwest business community stands as an example for all of us.

At Launchways, we were eager to partner with Atrend, both because of their community-focused response and because of their ability to provide clients with a streamlined consultative experience that demystifies the workplace safety questions that have so many business leaders looking for answers right now.

The fact that Atrend can deliver the PPE businesses require in addition to assessing their environment and making recommendations streamlines the reopen process significantly, limiting the number of vendors and consultants businesses leaders have to turn to.

How to Learn More

If you’re a business owner, finance leader, or HR professional trying to figure out how to adapt your physical workspace for social distancing and incorporate PPE best practices into your approach, Atrend Safety can help you today.

To learn more about a consultation or PPE purchases from Atrend, enter your information here and a member of the Launchways team will be in touch to discuss all your business’ COVID-19 workforce needs.

Takeaways

During these unprecedented times, it’s important to keep our eyes and ears open for stories about businesses who are finding new ways to thrive, serve their customers, and adapt to the new normal in the world of COVID-19.

Atrend Safety is a great example of an organization that adapted to meet the needs of the community and serve Chicago-area businesses in ways that will simplify and power the economic revitalization of our metro area in the coming months.

Remember:

  • Atrend, an audio and electronics leader here in the Midwest, has retooled as Atrend Safety, a workplace safety consultant and PPE manufacturing company
  • Atrend Safety provides end-to-end services, helping you scope your environment, devise a new workplace safety plan, and providing you with the PPE you need

Atrend Safety’s services are currently available to all that are part of the Launchways community!