Back to work

July 9th, 2020
Back to work remote work, return to work, opening the workplace, back to work,

Here we go folks, the time you have been anxiously waiting for the last 100 some odd days is here, it’s time to get back to work. While every state is requiring different things at different times, we noticed a few common themes employers should reflect on as you plan your big return.

Know your phase

The thing you need to understand first is: when. Each state is opening on a different timeline and within that, each industry has a different date. Our partners at Ogletree Deakins have a comprehensive breakdown of each state’s timeline

Know your outfit

Every first day of school requires a special outfit, and returning to work in the COVID era is no different. Unsure if you should require your employees to rock a mask and gloves? Our partners at Bernstein Shur say businesses should conduct this analysis based on the OSHA exposure risk levels as well as the latest recommendations by the CDC. If a business will be requiring PPE, it needs to ensure that it provides training to employees on how to properly use the equipment.

Know your plan

Many states are requiring employers to draft and distribute a COVID-19 prevention plan, a written guide on how you will react if someone on your staff becomes ill. Our partners at Littler explain what is required for Massachusetts employers: the plan must include:

  • Contact information for local health authorities, including the MA Department of Public Health, and the local/municipal health authority
  • Regular evaluations of all workspaces to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local guidelines
  • Isolation, contact tracing, and communication plan if a worker is diagnosed as positive with COVID-19, or comes into close contact (within six feet for 10 minutes or more) with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.

Know your space

According to our partners at Shawe Rosenthal, there are some changes you can make around the office to keep your team safe, such as:

  • Moving furniture and workstations
  • Installing barriers
  • Using markers to show where people should stand
  • Improving ventilation by increasing airflow, filtration, and use of outside air

Of particular interest, the CDC also suggests that employers replace high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots, water coolers, and bulk snacks, with alternatives such as pre-packaged, single-serving items.

Ready to get back out there? Our partners at Laner Muchin made this checklist for Illinois employers, but we think it’s a pretty good gut check for employers elsewhere as well. Want more state-by-state info? Check out this list of resources for your neck of the woods.


Nationwide resources 


Arizona - from our partners at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and our partners at Gammage and Burnham 

Colorado - from our partners at Littler and Fisher Phillips. From the Governor and from the State 

Florida - from our partners at the Florida Chamber of Commerce (here, here, and here as well) and at Gunster 

Georgia - from our partners at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce (here as well) and at Fox Rothschild 

Illinois - from the State, City of Chicago and from our partners at Laner Muchin 

Iowa - from the Governor, and our partners at the Iowa Association of Business

Kansas - from our partners at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce   

Maine - from the State and our partners at Bernstein Shur and the Maine Chamber of Commerce 

Maryland - from our partners at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the Governor and the State 

Massachusetts - from our partners at Littler and the State 

Minnesota - from our partners at Littler and Fredrikson Byron, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the State 

Missouri - from our partners at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Ogletree Deakins as well as the State 

Nebraska - from our partners at the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and the State 

New Jersey - from our partners at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the State 

New York - from our partners at Littler and the State 

North Carolina - from our partners at the North Carolina Chamber and the State 

Ohio - from our partners at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Governor 

Oregon - from the State 

Pennsylvania - from our partners at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Governor 

South Carolina - from our partners at the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce 

Tennessee - from the State (and the State again)

Texas - from our partners at Littler and the Texas Association of Business  

Virginia - from our partners at Littler, Troutman Sanders and the Virginia Chamber