With the vaccine rollout for the COVID-19 showing significant promise, businesses are opening back up. For nonprofits, this means bringing staff back into the workplace and gathering volunteers in a safe, practical way. When face-to-face interactions are the reason your nonprofit succeeds, it's important to find ways to bring back staff and volunteers safely and efficiently.
There are a number of ways you can get people back into your building post-COVID without risking anyone's health. You will need to know what protocols have been established by the CDC and OSHA regarding workplace safety and COVID-19. Your goal as an agency will be to meet or exceed the protocols that are set in order to protect everyone from the potential spread of COVID-19.
Bringing back employees and volunteers can be done with a staggered approach. If you have staff that have been successful at working remotely, it is likely that some of your staff can remain working from home indefinitely. Consider the people who are the most needed in the office, and begin training your staff on the safety protocols in place.
Now that vaccines are available, it's important to develop a policy for your agency around vaccines. You may determine that your staff and volunteers must be vaccinated in order to return to the office, or that you strongly recommend a vaccine. It is important to understand that some staff members may not be able to get vaccinated, and this will need to be managed on an individual basis.
Common sense is a powerful tool when it comes to bringing back staff and volunteers during COVID-19. Be clear about your expectations for anyone who enters the building, and give people a chance to ask questions. You want your staff and volunteers to feel safe, and this is done by having a plan. Let the people working and volunteering for your agency know that you are ready to answer questions or hear concerns.
Getting back to normal post-COVID is going to take time, and the nonprofit agencies that take the time to return gradually will be most successful. Understand that you will have people nervous about returning to the office, and you will need to provide guidance throughout the process. Look for ways to allow individuals to stay working remotely, and do what you can to create a safe work environment. As vaccination rates rise, it will become easier to safely be in close quarters once again with other people.