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Kristi Forsch
By
August 24, 2021

Going Back to the Office? Here is a Checklist for COVID-related questions

checklist2Today’s world looks much different than it did almost two years ago. We have become accustomed to remote working or hybrid approaches. We have all been inundated with science and information on vaccines. And while many figure out how to navigate the new workforce reality, we’ve rounded-up some common questions around COVID-19 and the workplace.

See below and comment with your questions!

Q: What do I do at an in-person interview if I feel uncomfortable?
A: If an in-person interview is requested, ask your recruiter about in-person protocols for that office that you should be aware of. If you would prefer social distancing and wearing a mask during the interview and are able to let your recruiter know ahead of time, they will be able to set the expectation with the hiring manager so everyone is on the same page. You can always calmly and politely request social distancing or wearing a mask during a job interview once you arrive if you forget to talk to your recruiter about your requests.

If the interviewer sticks out their hand upon introduction for a handshake, it is also okay to provide your elbow and ask for a no contact meeting. You want to be matched with an employer who values your comfort.

Q: Can I request a virtual interview if I feel more comfortable?
A: While you can, it is recommended that unless offered to you, you follow the practice of going in-person unless an accommodation is needed. If you have specific reasons why you can’t go in person, talk to your recruiter.

Q. What protocol should I be aware of before going for the in-person interview?
A. Ask these questions ahead of time: what health questionnaires do I need to fill out and can I complete it 24 hours ahead of time? Does the building have any entry protocols I should plan for to make sure I arrive on time? What is the company’s policy if I were to start working there?

Q: How do I discuss continuing working remotely?
A: First review the company policy on why they are asking employees to return to work, compare it to your plan as to how/when you’d like to work remote. Share your plan with your recruiter ahead of time to see if they have any pointers or if they think it would be best for them to have the conversation with your manager. If you would prefer to have the conversation with your manager, set some time with them, and share your plan ahead of the meeting. Have a clear and concise reason for why you are requesting work from home such as increase in quality work product, childcare hours remaining reduced, etc. If you receive the answer no, be ready to alter your mindset and plans. If you require a specific accommodation connect with your recruiter or HR.

Q: Can companies require employees to get the COVID vaccine?
A: In most cases, yes. While it might feel like it is a personal freedom to decide for yourself,
employers are still legally able to require the vaccine. If someone chooses not to vaccinate, they are free to make that choice but the employer with a vaccine requirement in order to continue working would not be the best fit.

Q: Can companies require employees to go back in-person?
A: As long as employers are following the best practice guidelines that promote a healthy and safe work environment, they can request employees return in person. If you’d like to continue working from home, you must get sign-off from your manger.

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