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The Return to work guide (RTW) for employers

As provinces announce phased approaches to reopening their economies following COVID-19 shutdowns, planning for Return to Work (RTW) is top of mind for most employers. But with rapidly changing public health guidelines and multiple factors to consider, this can be a daunting task fraught with unknowns.

We are here to help.

Download the COVID-19: Return to Work Guiding Principles Playbook

Our nationwide team of physicians and industry leaders in occupational health, virtual care, and mental health will guide you through the process of safely reopening your doors — so that your employees and those you serve can get back to business and thrive.

Contact us today to learn more about our suite of RTW services and for guidance tailored to your organization. At minimum, we encourage all organizations to consider these steps as they build their RTW return to work guide protocols:


1. Assess your environment

No workplace will operate as it did before the COVID-19 outbreak, but RTW safety protocols will be different at a corporate office than at a mining site. It’s important to complete a thorough risk assessment of your workplace or job site — not only to ensure that local public health guidelines are effectively implemented, but also to anticipate and mitigate potential risks unique to your environment.


2. Develop a screening protocol

Proper screening of employees and customers will play a crucial role in controlling the spread of COVID-19 as social distancing protocols loosen and Canadians start going back to work. Given that most Canadians now have a better understanding of how disease can spread, employees are likely to understand the need for screening – but it’s important to formally and clearly communicate your organization’s screening measures to all employees. (Need support on the communication front? We can help with templates and posters for your space.)

While following local guidelines within your workplace is vital, additional screening procedures may be prudent within your industry and physical workspace. Seeking personalized, expert advice in this area is invaluable.


3. Offer quality mental health support

The nationwide mental health fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is still unknown, but we do know that Canadians are already suffering — and experts anticipate that the long-term repercussions will be severe. Employers who understand this reality, apply it to their RTW planning, and lead with it at heart will be more likely to bring back a happier, more productive workforce. Fostering a culture of safety, understanding and open communication is critical, as is making sure that your employees have access to the support they need, including access to professional mental health support around the clock – 24/7, from wherever they need it, with Akira by TELUS Health.


4. Plan for disability management

Employers must prepare for an increase in disability management cases, as previously low-risk employees fall into high-risk demographics post-pandemic. Those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, over the age of 60, and others will now require additional risk assessments, modified RTW plans and sensitivity. Consider outsourcing or supplementing your disability management needs to a professional nationwide organization like Horizon.


Download our Return to Work Guide Playbook for more guidelines around creating your RTW strategy. Want to learn more about how our team can help you and your employees through this process? Contact us today.

Download the COVID-19: Return to Work Guiding Principles Playbook