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IBX Insights

Welcome Back: Supporting Your Employees as They Return to the Workplace

Shot of two businesspeople bumping elbows while working in an office

Whether it’s the promise of getting back to business as you know it or seeing your staff at full force, there’s a lot to feel good about as employees start to return to workplaces of all sizes. But after over a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers know easing their workforce back to a sense of normalcy will take some time and effort.

In a recent survey of U.S. employers, more than 45% expressed concerns about workers who are afraid to return to the workplace due to fear of getting sick or adjusting back into a workplace environment.

No matter what the “return to the workplace” looks like for your business, putting an emphasis on employee health and peace of mind is essential moving forward. Here are a few areas to focus on when it comes to comfort and safety, so your employees can stay focused on their work.

More Safety, Less Stress

As of early June 2021, slightly over 60% of the population in Pennsylvania had received at least one COVID-19 shot. Widespread vaccinations are the cornerstone of getting our health, community, and economy back on track. That’s why the CDC recommends encouraging your staff to take this preventive step. Here’s some ways you can build your employees’ vaccine confidence:

  • Become a vaccine champion: Be vocal about your own vaccine experience, share your personal reasons for being vaccinated, and remind your employees why it’s important.
  • Communicate the facts: Use CDC resources to share the most up-to-date information and key messages via posters, emails, and other channels.
  • Celebrate the decision: You can print stickers from the CDC to recognize the employees who get vaccinated.

Employers are also giving employees time off to get vaccinated and recuperate, if needed, from mild side effects. Make sure your staff knows your vaccination policies. It’s also important to continue to implement public health measures throughout your work space. Install enhanced air filtration systems, if possible, and let your employees know about these enhancements. Be clear on when and where to wear masks, practice social distancing, and how to thoroughly clean and disinfect every area. Make sure you also communicate any COVID-19 exposure and testing protocols you may have in place.

You can find more helpful resources for keeping your employees healthy and informed at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Reopening Business website.

A Stronger Emphasis on Employee Wellness

As we navigate the post-pandemic world, employers are becoming more aware of the need to support their employees’ overall well-being. Offering your staff access to traditional health care through your Independence Blue Cross plan is an important part of taking care of their physical health, but what about their emotional, social, and financial health?

Being aware of the many stressors your employees may be facing shows that you’re ready and willing to go the extra mile for your staff. Understanding all of the factors that can affect employee well-being, such as child and elder care, money concerns, increased stress and mental health issues, can help you inspire healthier habits — and reduce your health care costs.

Achieve Well-being is a health and wellness program available to your employees through the member portal at They can use personalized online tools to help them achieve their well-being goals in a way that’s easy and fun. Remind your staff they have access to this program and once they complete their Achieve Well-being profile, they’ll be able to:

  • Develop an action plan to eat right, sleep better, manage stress, and get fit
  • Choose from a variety of programs to address their needs or goals
  • Stay motivated with rewards for achievement and through the program’s encouraging reminders

Boosting workplace safety, helping reduce stress levels, and supporting employee well-being are all going to help your business get back to business. There’s one last thing to keep in mind: Through every stage of your return to the workplace, stay vigilant about reaching out to your staff to see how they’re doing. Ask for their ideas, invite their feedback, and, together, you can make it a safe and successful return.

Dr. Victor Caraballo, MD

Dr. Caraballo is Vice President of Quality Management for Independence Blue Cross. In his role, Dr. Caraballo is responsible for all activities associated with ensuring health plan compliance with the accreditation standards of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Dr. Caraballo holds both an undergraduate and medical degree from Brown University and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.