Masks have become an essential part of the fashion industry. They have played an indispensable role in minimizing the impact of the coronavirus. While masks have become a part of our daily lives over the past couple of years, that is slowly beginning to change. Many states have started dropping their long-standing mask mandates, no longer requiring them state-wide. What does this mean for employees returning to the office?
The Effects of Mask Mandates
There have been numerous challenges in bringing remote employees back into physical office spaces, and mask mandates are only a minor part. Questions such as whether to require proof of vaccination, how to enforce social distancing measures, and whether or not employees will comply with mask mandates have kept many businesses putting off a return to the office. For many managers, it has just been easier to handle the challenges of working remotely than to deal with the inevitable conflict and differences of opinion that would inevitably arise. Most employees have expressed they would prefer to work maskless from home rather than be required to wear a mask all day in an office.
How We Move Forward
So now that many states are dropping mask mandates is it time to move back into the office mask-free? As the omicron wave subsides, many are hoping that’s the case. However, don’t get overeager. While it’s true that case numbers are trending downwards nationwide, the CDC is hesitant to say we can leave masks behind for good. Some regions are still experiencing spikes, and health professionals generally still recommend wearing masks indoors. It can be tempting to want to rush back to business as usual, but it’s important to remember that while cases are dropping, the virus isn’t gone.
If you’ve evaluated local case rates and have decided you’re comfortable dropping mask policies for your company, move forward cautiously. Stay informed on regional developments and ensure your employees know that those policies may be subject to change if the virus spikes again. Additionally, take feedback from your employees and ensure you have measures for employees who may not be comfortable returning to a maskless environment. This may look like leaving the option to work from home available or setting aside certain office areas as “masks required” zones.