Returning to work during a pandemic. 

As we begin contemplating the new normal brought on by the realities of COVID-19, small and mid-sized businesses must navigate the unknown. But you’re not alone. PaymentEvolution is here with you and for you. We’re a Canadian SMB just like you and we want to help.

In Canada, spring is slowly turning into summer and provinces are gradually opening up again. Every day there’s a new announcement about stores reopening, travel bans being lifted and life “going back to normal”.

While returning to work is important for the economy and our general sense of well being, protecting ourselves and our employees—our collective health—remains the priority. Staying safe and returning to work doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. There is a way to stay safe AND return to work.  

As a small business, PaymentEvolution is facing the same changes. Given that our mission is to empower your business for success, we developed best practices to help you in the process of returning to physical offices safely.

1. Don’t Rush

We all want to get back into the work groove, that feeling of productivity and those adult office chats that break up the day. However, there is no rush. We’ve been operating “in the meantime,” and can continue to do so until the right measures are in place to return to shared physical spaces.

2. Make Changes

Your number one priority should be your employees’ and community’s health. Before you invite the team back to your physical work environment, prepare! Do your due diligence and take your time putting the right precautions in place.

The Government of Canada has recommended several changes be made in workplaces across the country.  Take time to implement these changes.

With these measures you’ll help limit the spread of many illnesses, not just COVID-19, and make your team feel safer and more confident about returning.

  • Purchase hand sanitizer bottles and place them around the office
  • Print out Government of Canada Guidelines and hang them around the office, especially in high traffic areas (by the elevators, in the kitchen, by the copy machines) for all to see
  • Increase the frequency and quality of cleaning
  • Increase distance between desks
  • Install protective glass at the end of aisles, around reception and in high traffic areas
  • Minimize activities that require close physical proximity (e.g. team meetings)
  • Consider introducing temperature checks at work
  • Distribute PPE equipment if possible
  • Minimize travel and ensure that any employee who travels (even locally) is self-isolating for 14 days afterwards

3. Talk Safety 

You may feel like there’s been a broken record playing with health warnings and preventative advice for months now. Get used to constant health reminders and make them part of your daily soundtrack.

It is critical to reiterate key messages about safety for your leaders and your employees. Repetitive or not, these messages will make a difference.

  • Practice Social Distancing > Keep 2 meters or 6 feet between yourself and co-workers, clients or anyone in public places.
  • Wash Your Hands > Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds and don’t forget to sing “Happy Birthday” twice!
  • Wear Masks & Gloves > Avoid touching surfaces and your face with your bare hands. Reusable gloves are a great solution and should be changed regularly.
  • Sanitize Surfaces > Sanitize high-touch items on your desk (e.g. phone) anything you bring into the office.
  • Shake Off The Handshake > Avoid handshakes or any physical contact. Instead, say hello verbally or in a creative way.

4. Set New Expectations

When you invite staff back into physical spaces, advise all workers to stay home if they’re experiencing any symptoms. There is no benefit to anyone when you work onsite while you’re sick. So set new standards for yourself and hold each other accountable too.

Symptoms to watch for may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any cold or flu-like symptoms. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Advise your staff that, even if they think they’re simply under the weather, they should stay on the safe side (and at home).

5. Use the COVID Resource Centre

Finally, stay informed!

To keep you in the loop with all things related to the pandemic and your small business, we’ve built a COVID-19 Resource Centre! You can even sign up for email updates to get notified of new content as soon as we publish it!

Things have changed…

Our lives might never be the same. Perhaps we’ll forever stay mindful about touching our faces, washing hands and giving people space. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing?

The truth is, we still know little about COVID-19 and the way it spreads.  Even with diligent social distancing and other measures, the risk of spreading the virus (especially unknowingly) may still be high. It’s true that many people don’t show or experience any symptoms, and that’s where the real danger lies. That’s why we really can’t be too careful.

Do your part and feel more confident bringing your employees back to work!

Do you need help putting pandemic procedures in place?

Better than HR, at PaymentEvolution we believe in HX—Human Experience.

Our HX experts are available to help you mitigate return to work risks and provide support in a variety of ways customized to your needs. Send us your questions, book time with our HR experts ( and stay tuned for updates to the PE Blog.