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Employers are bringing workers back to the office. Here’s what risk managers need to consider.

The COVID-19 pandemic upended many long-held assumptions about where and how work gets done. As companies plan to reopen their doors and bring employees back into offices, they have an opportunity to embrace a “new better” approach to work. Before even stepping foot in the office, leaders can start to prep themselves and their teams by acknowledging the dramatic shifts that have taken place, the changes that may or may not become permanent, and what employees can expect upon their return.

In their eagerness to return to normal, leaders may be tempted to make decisions based solely on what the law or industry guidelines allow or recommend. But employees have much at stake as the workplace rebounds, with 71% of executives saying they think their workers would prefer a hybrid model over full-time in-person work,[1] and therefore should play a critical role in the planning process.

A comprehensive business resumption plan, developed with a risk lens, can help workplaces reopen safely and smoothly, with minimal disruptions to operations. Given the length and evolving nature of this crisis—and the ongoing uncertainty of where best practices may eventually land—flexibility in planning and execution are key. Companies will want to carefully monitor their capital and operating costs associated with the reopening and avoid overcommitting to a particular plan. Strategies will also need to be tailored by country, location and workplace culture.

With that in mind, here’s what you may see when you step through your office doors soon.