COVID-19: Easing Concerns About Returning to Work

Stay safe and informed

September 22, 2021  

It is natural to be concerned about the return to work, whether vaccinated or not. As more businesses open, it is necessary for us all to continue practicing everyday prevention. Use the guidance below1 to ease some of your fears, and stay as safe as possible.

Before returning to the workplace

  • If you have or think you might have COVID-19, you should isolate, whether or not you have symptoms. Isolation keeps someone infected with the virus away from others, even in their own home.
  • If you might have been exposed to COVID-19, you should quarantine. Quarantining keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.
    (Video: What’s the difference between quarantine and isolation?)
  • If you are at increased risk for severe illness, ask your manager if there are policies and practices in place to reduce your risk at the workplace, such as remote work or modified responsibilities.

Protecting yourself and others at the workplace

Stay home when needed

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, notify your manager and stay home. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends testing for anyone with symptoms.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should isolate and follow these CDC-recommended steps.
  • If you are well but have a household member with COVID-19, notify your manager and follow these CDC-recommended precautions.

Monitor your health

  • Pay attention for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop (Please note: don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes after exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.)
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Social distancing and masks

  • Keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and your coworkers. COVID-19 spreads easier between people who are within 6 feet of each other.  
  • If you can’t keep 6 feet of distance, wear a mask to decrease your risk of getting infected.
  • Wearing a mask does not replace the need to practice social distancing.

Protecting your mental health and wellbeing

Take care of your mental health

Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Consider these options for some relief:

  • If you are being treated for a mental health condition, continue with your treatment. Talk to your doctor about any new or worsening symptoms.
  • Reach out to coworkers, friends, and family members to share your concerns. Ask your manager or Human Resources contact how to access mental health resources at your workplace.
  • Offer support to others to improve your sense of control, belonging, and self-esteem.

Boost your wellbeing

  • Try yoga or meditation – or just take some deep breaths to lower your heart rate and trigger your body’s natural relaxation response.
  • Exercise daily – even a simple 10-minute walk outdoors once or twice a day can help ease some stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep - being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night

While employers are working to be flexible with their employees, we recognize there are varying degrees of comfort about heading back to work. We encourage you to speak with your manager or Human Resources contact if you have any questions or concerns.

More information from the CDC

  1. Returning to WorkCDC, updated 6/11/21



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