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Return-to-the-Workplace Playbook

Anticipate and plan to bring employees back onsite.

  • There are currently multiple vaccines for COVID-19, but uptake around the world varies. Balancing the protection of employees in a workplace with employees’ privacy and rights poses an issue.
  • Organizations need to put protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of anyone accessing the workplace and to prevent outbreaks. Protocols require organizations to assess and modify current operations and workplace layouts.
  • Organizations operating in different regions may have different federal and local public health restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines and be in different stages of the pandemic.
  • This disruption may be greater or lesser across work units within an organization, requiring different work units to operate in different ways or at different times.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Workplace changes spurred by the realities of COVID-19 have been so seismic it is highly unlikely things will go back to the way they were before.

Impact and Result

  • Review key factors and determine how to bring employees back to the workplace, prioritizing first by work units and then by employee segments.
  • Maintain awareness of public health requirements and legislation when designing return-to-the-workplace protocols, including actions to address employee-specific challenges.
  • Finally, create a plan with key triggers and be prepared to iterate.

Return-to-the-Workplace Playbook Research & Tools

1. Identify and prioritize work units and employee segments

Analyze, identify, and prioritize work units and employee segments to return to the workplace.

2. Build the return-to-the-workplace plan

Update and tailor workplace protocols and finalize the return-to-the-workplace approach.

3. Prepare to support employees through the transition

Create a detailed return-to-the-workplace plan and communications and monitor the success of the plan.

Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.


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ATC Uganda

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Fernco Inc

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City of Alexandria, VA

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University Of Regina

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We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve.

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What Is a Blueprint?

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Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 6 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Identify the organization's work units and select organization-wide COVID-19 protocols
  • Call #1 - Examine the key components of returning to the workplace.
  • Call #2 - Determine the work units and their current status in the organization.
  • Call #3 - Review COVID-19 protocol ideas that will support the return to the workplace.

Guided Implementation #2 - Determine how employee segments will return to the workplace
  • Call #1 - Identify the employee segments that will return to the workplace.
  • Call #2 - Determine how COVID-19 protocols and organizational policies and programs will be tailored.

Guided Implementation #3 - Prepare to support employees through the transition
  • Call #1 - Review everyone’s role in communicating the return to workplace plan.


Jennifer Waxman

Catherine Schroeder


  • Valarie Dillon, Executive Director, Business Services, Scouts Canada
  • Scott Farley, General Manager, Human Resources, Komatsu America Corp
  • You Mon Tsing, CEO, ChurnZero
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