return-to-work plan
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Creating a Return-to-Work Plan for Your Medical Sales Team

It’s no secret that 2020 was a strenuous year for everyone. But since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in December, there finally seems to be a light at the end of a very long tunnel.

In fact, a Deloitte study shared that optimism is on the rise this year with 59% of CFO’s expecting better conditions in 2021.

But even as we enter 2021’s uncharted waters with hope, work and life as we know it will never be the same again. As a result, leaders in the medical sales industry now face a new hurdle when preparing their return-to-work plan — how to successfully navigate a post-pandemic world.

Your team is going to look to you to help them adjust to returning to the workplace. When putting together your return-to-work plan, consider these three tips to move your sales team forward safely and successfully:

1. Managing employees’ health

As you start to put together your return-to-work plan, your first priority should always be the health of your employees. Your team is trusting you to make the right decisions. Once restrictions are lifted, here’s how to help promote their well-being:

  • Develop a contact tracing program to implement into your return-to-work plan. Create a proactive plan before your employees come back to work to help address and reduce workplace illness.
    • For example, invest in a contact tracing app if your budget allows. Or create a contact tracing committee to reach out to employees who may be at risk.
  • When you get the green light to reopen your workplace, consider who should come back first. Think about each person’s job responsibilities, as well as who on your sales team would be considered high-risk. Employees with elevated risk should continue to work remotely, and those who are going into hospitals and doctors offices should limit their exposure to others in the workplace.
  • Once your employees are in the office, implement and enforce all CDC recommendations and guidelines (taking temperatures before entering the building, requiring all employees to wear masks, practicing social distancing, etc.).

2. Adapting to workplace safety

Don’t overlook workplace safety in your return-to-work plan. Many employees aren’t going to know what to expect when they return. They will rely on you to create and communicate how you are making the workplace a safe environment. Here’s what you can do:

  • Evaluate job roles to determine what personal protective equipment is needed to keep your team safe. 
    • For example, upon returning to work you can provide everyone with disposable masks, gloves, and sanitizers. But keep in mind, some sales reps may require additional PPE depending on their workplace environment and exposure. 
    • Reviewing each team member’s individual needs is a great way to ensure workplace safety for everyone.
  • Reacclimating to an on-site working environment may take some time for certain employees. It is important to have a communication strategy in place to help those returning to work know what to expect.
    • Before your team enters the workplace, give training on new safety measures and protocols so that everyone understands their expectations and feels safe in their work environment.
  • Although restrictions will lift over time, a recent Global Workplace Analytics report predicted that 25-30% of employees will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. As such, your return-to-work plan should also include remote work strategies.
    • For instance, if office desks cannot be appropriately spaced apart, you may need to look into other options. Anyone who can still work from home may need to stay remote so that social distancing remains possible.

3. Implementing an empathetic culture

It’s been a tough year for everyone — both professionally and personally. When creating your return-to-work plan, it is important to embrace an empathetic return-to-work culture. Here’s how:

  • Communicate to your team that their mental health and well-being are top priorities. This will help create a safe space so that they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
  • Take the time to listen to your employees’ concerns. Then, as you’re able, create new policies that help alleviate their worries.
    1. For example, if your employees have expressed that they still feel unsafe to come back to work, remain flexible in your return-to-work policy. In addition, provide resources to help them navigate through these uncertain times.
  • Check in with your team regularly. Connecting with your employees and addressing their concerns can boost productivity and engagement as well as strengthen corporate culture.

For a prime example of how to protect sales reps during times of uncertainty, look no further than this Best Places to Work finalist.