This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on July 15, 2020.
As states begin to lift restrictions and people emerge from the shutdown, law firms are developing their strategies for reopening offices after weeks of remote working.
Many firms will find that it’s not as simple as it sounds, and there are countless intricacies to consider before employees return. While most firms will focus on ensuring physical spaces are as safe as possible, it’s equally important to consider the impact reopening decisions will have on your firm’s culture of inclusivity moving forward.
Firms will clearly focus on safety measures such as social distancing guidelines, the use of masks and gloves, plexiglass dividers, temperature checks, bathroom and cafeteria limits, and frequent sanitization. Additionally, many offices will choose to bring employees back in phases or have them alternate days in the office. However, even with all the protective measures in place, experts agree that nowhere will be 100% safe from the virus until there is a vaccine or cure.
Consequently, firm leaders are facing extremely difficult decisions regarding how and when to reopen the office and who should return. When contemplating these significant questions, firms should consider the following tips to maintain fairness and support a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.