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Are You Scared to Return to Work During Coronavirus?

As states and businesses begin to slowly open up in certain parts of the country, employees are struggling with the decision regarding returning to work. People have a fear for their safety and the ability to protect their loved ones in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals have expressed a number of concerns they are trying to overcome as they prepare to hear about their return to work dates.

Concerns That Have Been Raised by Employees

Some individuals work in jobs where social distancing is difficult. People have family members with compromised immune systems for various reasons. This creates a fear of bringing COVID-19 to the home. Individuals have serious financial concerns. Most people cannot afford to be out of work. Some have experienced temporary or permanent layoffs; others took reductions in pay. Mervat Elschwarby, lead Resume Writer and Career Coach from NYC Resume, Interview & Online Prep states “People want to do the right thing. There’s a level of satisfaction with performing well at work, interacting with a team and seeing the results of your contributions. Weighing health and safety concerns, financial struggles and the desire to help their companies be successful are difficult issues to tackle all at once.” Click here to visit the NYC Resume website.

What are Companies Doing to Prepare?

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The media has shown a number of employees expressing concerns about what companies are doing to keep them safe. Some have said they were not provided with protective safety equipment. Meanwhile, they interact with the public. Some feel that they should be paid a higher wage given that they are taking risk of exposure to coronavirus. It has been a challenge. For a period of time, it was difficult to secure so much necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) all at once. Manufacturers had to increase their capabilities and ramp up.

Companies are rearranging workstations, restaurants, salons and other establishments offering public services are making changes to layout and limiting capacity to allow for social distancing. Some companies are performing temperature checks daily and others have instituted self-administered Coronavirus testing onsite. Some companies may mandate wearing masks or face coverings and others may not. Is your office space configured for social distancing? So many thoughts are going through people’s minds as they think about returning to work.

Some companies are shifting work schedules to limit the number of individuals in the office at one time.  Although these measures are being taken, it’s hard to determine what needs to be done to make people feel safe and comfortable. Rules are being put in place, but will everyone follow them consistently? If they don’t, what are the consequences? It’s a real dilemma, a position that people never thought they would be in. We never would have dreamed a pandemic would arise and affect the entire globe the way it is now.

Child Care

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People are facing even more complicated childcare issues with schools closed, uncertainty about summer camps and daycare facilities. Factor that with a reluctance to let others in your home to care for children. Employers may understand your situation and be sympathetic. Some companies perhaps can’t afford to or may not relate to your particular challenges. Furthermore, the new findings of the impact on some children has heightened anxiety levels.


Some people choose to wear masks while some don’t. Some are better than others at maintaining social distancing. We see that when we go to the grocery store or the park. Will rules be put in place that make you feel more comfortable? Will everyone follow the rules, and will they be enforced when needed?  Although companies have placed an emphasis on safety in the past, this is a much more complex set of circumstances.

Entering the Workforce

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Recent graduates will be entering the workforce during this pandemic not knowing what to expect. During the interview process, that raises a whole set of new questions about workstations, safety, and work rules. Starting at a new job under ordinary circumstances can feel a bit intimidating. Now it poses much greater challenges. It is now more important than ever for recent graduates to stand out. A small investment in a professional resume and interviewing coaching can go a long way to separate themselves from the competition. There’s a lot more competition in the job market they will need to overcome.

Talk to your Boss and Colleagues

Speak with your boss about how things have been going working remotely. Is it possible to perform the vast majority of your responsibilities from home? Work with him or her on an accurate assessment of your work. Perhaps some arrangements can be made.  It’s likely that they will return employees to work in phases. Ask your boss what steps are being taken to protect employees. Talk to a colleague that returns before you to see what safety measures are being taken to have a better sense of what to expect. You can gather a significant amount of information that may alleviate some of your fears, some may not.

What Is Within My Control?

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Many feel that things are completely outside of our control. There are a number of precautions and healthy habits that you can take. Continuing with the 20 second hand washing multiple times a day is essential. Wearing a mask when you are outside and practicing social distancing. Getting enough sleep, exercise and trying to maintain a healthy diet will help build your immune system. While at work be aware of high touch points like the coffee machine, the refrigerator door and a variety of others. You may bring cleaning products to work in order to wipe down surfaces and touchpoints. Think about activities that will increase your comfort level and what you can personally do at work. Do your research to see what more you can do to protect yourself and those around you.

Although it’s an extremely difficult decision from a financial standpoint, you decide what your options are when it comes to returning to work. It may not feel like a choice because you have bills to pay and have to put food on the table. Make sure you understand the impact to your unemployment benefits if you decide not to return to work.

The truth is, considering all these factors can be overwhelming. Talk with your family, colleagues and do your research in order to make a more informed decision. Speak with your boss to see what measures can be taken. Then make the best decision you can under the circumstances.

About Henrietta Milanovska