May 22, 2020

Planning For The Rebound: Step 20 – When You Least Expect It, Expect It

Our 20-part blog series, Planning for the Rebound, is now at the end, which may leave you thinking that you are prepared for anything that could possibly come your way. Not to dull your ebullient mood, but you are not. Problems will arise, and you will face issues that you never dreamed could arise.

In the short time that this blog series has been posted, I have personally answered questions about common coffee stations and coffee mugs, elevators and stairwells, and trimming a beard so that it fits comfortably under a mask. As a coffee drinker and elevator traveler (though I shaved my COVID beard three weeks ago), I can honestly say that I did not anticipate those issues myself. This is the truth: no matter how much thinking you put into preparing your workplace for a safe return, you will not think of everything.

You can reasonably ask how you can succeed in light of all of the unknowns. The answer is the same we give to employers in any situation: be open-minded and flexible. As HR professionals and lawyers, you are undoubtedly going to hear employee concerns, significant and insignificant, real and perceived, normal and unbelievably weird. That’s OK. Do not dismiss anything or anyone, no matter how strange or trivial their question may be. Hear them out, pay attention, and give their idea some thought. You do not need to agree with every request that comes your way and, in fact, you will probably disagree with most of them. The best way you can build your credibility with your staff is to give their concerns attention, and if you do not agree, explain clearly why you don’t and the problems with their reasoning. If employees are given a chance to contribute a solution to a problem, they will rightfully feel as though their voice was heard, and their trust in you will rise.

In the end, the key to a successful return to work centers on trust, just like any other employee issue. If employees trust you, they will work harder for you and they will be successful. Build that trust by having clear communications, by allowing employees to feel that their voices are being heard, and by showing them you are doing everything in your power to create a safe working environment for them.

So ends this series, which we hope has been helpful for you. As new updates arise, we at Hirschfeld Kraemer will keep you up to speed with regular updates on our Employer’s Guide to Coronavirus. Also, take a look at our Checklist of things to consider in returning to the workplace. And tune into our complimentary June 2, 2020 webinar, Reopening the Workplace, where we will answer these and many other questions.


Questions about COVID-19 and the workplace? Contact the Hirschfeld Kraemer lawyer who normally provides your legal advice, or you can reach out to Dan Handman in Hirschfeld Kraemer’s Los Angeles office,, (310) 255-1820.

Did you miss previous posts in our Planning For The Rebound series? Click on the links below:
Step 1 – Requirements For Returning To The Workplace
Step 2 – Do I Have To Bring Back Furloughed or Laid-Off Employees?
Step 3 – Do Employers Need to Bring Back Under-Performers?
Step 4 – Ready To Go Back To Work? Not So Fast …
Step 5 – Passing the Test: COVID-19 Screening in the Workplace
Step 6 – Deciding Which Employees Can Return To The Workplace
Step 7 – Workplace Safety: Posters Are Not Enough
Step 8 – Safety Tips For Allowing Vendors and Visitors Into Your Workplace
Step 9 – Meal and Break Room Safety
Step 10 – Hygiene Tips For A Safe, Clean Workplace
Step 11 – A Workable Plan For Social Distancing
Step 12 – Dealing With Requests To Work Remotely: Separating Facts From Fear
Step 13 – Is Work Travel A Thing Of The Past?
Step 14 – New Hires and Offer Letters During COVID-19
Step 15 – Addressing Employee Return-To-Work Anxieties
Step 16 – Managing Employee Performance During COVID-19: Not “Business As Usual”
Step 17 – Severance Pay Considerations
Step 18 – Getting Ready For The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Fall Outbreak
Step 19 – Are Future Layoffs “Unforeseeable” Under Cal-WARN?

For additional employer-focused information about COVID-19:
Click here to see the Hirschfeld Kraemer EMPLOYER’S GUIDE TO CORONAVIRUS