As employees head back to work, experts say don’t let your guard down

Across Florida, employees are heading back into work, but now is not the time to let down our guard.

“Given that it seems like we’re opening, what is the best way to do this as safely as possible,” asked Joseph Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Management, FGCU.

It’s a question Southwest Florida businesses are grappling with now that the state is reopening its economy.

But human resources expert Liu says for employees who have the ability to work from home, the answer is clear.

“Working from home definitely is one of, I think, the safest ways to open up the economy or maintain the commerce that we’ve had,” he said.

That belief is backed by the medical community.

Robert Hawkes, the director of FGCU’s physician assistant program, says the virus is still here and spreading, so social distancing remains critical.

“Telecommuting is a great way to practice social distancing,” he said.

The latest guidance from the CDC also says, when possible, employers should allow staff to telework as well.

If you can’t work from home, Hawkes says make sure to keep your distances and, while inconvenient, wear a mask.

“It will certainly help to decrease the spread of the virus,” he said. “Certainly washing hands frequently, having hand sanitizer with you, those are also very important things to do.”

Liu says in cases like this, what’s best for employees is also what’s best for employers.

“If employees get sick, that’s going to really decrease productivity. If they bring it home to their families, that’s going to add undue stress and distraction from the work environment,” he said.

If you’re nervous about heading back, experts say you ask your employer about what they’re doing to lower your risk of infection at work.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
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