Deena Merlen Quoted in SHRM Article on Employer Strategies for Return to Work

As pandemic-induced restrictions continue to gradually lift, the conversation concerning return-to-work protocols becomes ever more relevant and vital. In response to the many questions regarding this topic, last week SHRM published an article titled “Gradual Return to Workplace Eases Transition for Employees,” in which Partner Deena Merlen is heavily quoted on potential approaches employers may take to reduce the risks as they invite or require employees to return to the workplace.

Ms. Merlen notes in the SHRM article that some employers are embracing the hybrid model and are asking workers to report in person for two or three days a week, starting on a future date with reasonable advance notice, then calling for a full return to the office when staff have been vaccinated. The article also discusses the potential impact on vaccine policies in the workplace if the COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently offered under an “Emergency Use Authorization,” is granted full FDA approval (a subject on which Ms. Merlen was recently interviewed by Bloomberg Law as well – see Vaccine Mandates at Work Set for Uptick After Full FDA Approval).

In the SHRM article, Deena notes that employers should consider a range of strategies for helping employees return to the workplace. For example, “for offices with new capacity constraints or insufficient space to allow for proper social distancing, staggered work shifts may make sense.” She also mentions checkerboard seating as a potential solution, which can be helpful to employers with cubicle seating or open floor plans for its every-other-seat pattern (mimicking a checkerboard) to help with social distancing.

To learn more, read the full SHRM article here.