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Returning to Work – We’ve Been Here the Whole Time!

In this new quarterly blog series, our President and COO, Jennifer Reilly, will share her insights and updates in the life sciences industry from a safety perspective. In this quarter’s blog, gain insight into how Safety Partners managed through a pandemic and what you can learn from our experience as you start to return to work:

A couple of weeks ago there were several key updates related to lifting many COVID-19 restrictions in MA.  Last week we were able to remove face coverings when outside in public when we can socially distance.

More recreation opportunities will be possible with the opening of amusement, theme, and water parks at 50% capacity along with road races and other outdoor athletic events.  Although there will still be some approved health and safety protocols in place, it is exciting to continue to move toward returning and reopening what looks like what will be our “new normal” by August.

Many articles and webinars have focused on bringing staff back to the office and announcements mandating schools get back to full in-person learning.  It is speculated that by August, offices will have workers returning onsite in various capacities.  Safety Partners has the privilege of supporting essential laboratories performing key research.  Much of this essential research has shifted to vaccine development or new testing platforms and therefore, our support did not stop due to the pandemic.

We are incredibly lucky and appreciative of our clients and the continued opportunities to have an impact.  A former colleague of mine recently reflected on how providing EHS services and guidance during this pandemic has likely been an unexpectedly rewarding career experience for me.  I totally agree and while many companies are actively strategizing and planning their return-to-work policies, I would like to share what I’ve learned about managing through a pandemic and our experience as a service provider supporting essential services.

We’ve learned and experienced the following:

  1. An old dog can learn new tricks: For many of us, videoconferencing was a capability largely unused pre-COVID. Now, it is one of our essential ingredients to continuing to connect and do business.  Not only have we all learned how to use this but we are constantly looking for new ways to deliver our service despite the COVID restrictions.
  2. Be respectful of feelings: This pandemic has pushed and challenged us in ways we could never imagine.  Feelings matter and are very subjective when you are trying to navigate the best solution or policy to ultimately put first the safety of your families, team members, and clients.  This pandemic emphasized, even more, the need to be an active listener and consider all points of view.
  3. Flexibility is key: Daily press conferences from various state and federal agencies continued to uncover the need to be flexible. The flow of information was constantly changing and there was no “one size fits all” solution.  These changes impacted how we all worked and we needed to also be flexible with employees as they juggled home and work life.

It is exciting to be moving forward, making progress, and not only take what we have learned but be open to learning more!  Thank you to all the workers for providing essential support!

This blog was written by Jennifer Reilly, our President, and COO.

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