COVID-19: Respect and Sensitivity in the Workplace Blog Series

Creating a safe space for employees, goes beyond washing hands, disinfecting desks and social distancing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have developed mounds of guidance to assist businesses as they reopen their workplaces. But guess what - it’s not working. A survey of U.S. professionals in early June by organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry found that half were afraid to go back to the office and 25 percent weren't confident their employer had created a safe and healthy workplace in order to return.

Of course, we must do our due diligence with disinfection and other mitigation measures to control ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 from a scientific perspective. We have never lived through a situation affecting the entire world at one time. Respectfully, as a leader, I challenge a cookie cutter plan to adapt to the “new normal”. Nothing about what is happening can be considered normal. This pandemic impacts employees in a serious, life altering way and we need to step back and look at the human dynamics at play when developing and implementing our back to work policies and guidelines. We all know the old adage that knowledge is power yet knowing something is wrong doesn’t always stop or prevent it from happening. Our mind is often self-serving, and we can change our values to justify behavior. Yet it should not be so difficult to integrate simple guidelines at work. Read my blogs and gain tips and techniques to foster and maintain the kind of organizational culture where everyone can thrive.

The impact on our workplace and communities since March 2020 has been far-reaching and exhaustive. The following blogs are intended for All Employees who are committed to creating a safe space for employees back at work or preparing to bring employees back to work:

  • 10 steps to a respectful COVID-19 workplace

  • COVID-19 employee testing

  • Coping with fear, stigma and worry due to COVID-19

  • Age discrimination: concern or pretext amid COVID-19

  • Accepting personal responsibility amid COVID-19 restrictions

  • Staying emotional well during COVID-19

  • COVID-19 confidentiality and reporting

  • Civility: random acts of kindness amid COVID-19

Carol Flynn is president of HR Solutions Inc and is a subject matter expert in sexual harassment, organizational development and workplace integration. She has over 25 years in human resource management and is a professor and educator with a Master of Arts in industrial/organizational Psychology; life-time certified senior professional in human resources (SPHR); certified EEOC trainer; and past investigative member of the Florida Bar Grievance Committee (FBGC). For further information, see

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