Traliant Resources

Best Practices for Returning to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Office Environment​ Best Practices


This resource outlines general best practices for office environments to help mitigate employee exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. The recommendations listed in this resource are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other similar workplace guidelines. 

Office environment generally means businesses that conduct operations from non-customer-facing office spaces (standalone and within multi-tenant buildings) such as legal services, accounting services, architectural/engineering design, and other like businesses.

The best practices outlined in this document are general guidelines and may not apply to your specific workplace, job task, or work environment.

Employers and employees should always follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, guidelines, and public health directives, as they may have different or more stringent standards. 

Face Coverings

Wear face coverings in the workplace as required by law, your employer, or as recommended by the CDC.

Social Distancing

  • Maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from others.

  • Consider all close interactions (within 6 feet) with coworkers, clients, and others as a potential source of exposure, as people may be able to spread COVID-19 even if they do not show symptoms.

  • Refrain from handshakes, hugs, and fist bumps, and instead use no-contact greetings, such as a smile, a wave, a nod, a bow, or a thumbs-up.

  • Use tele- and video-conferencing while at your desk, if practical.

  • If possible, install transparent shields or other physical barriers to separate employees and visitors when social distancing is not possible.

  • Arrange chairs in communal seating areas by turning, draping, spacing, or removing chairs to maintain social distancing.

  • Stagger shifts and start and break times as feasible to reduce the number of employees in common areas such as screening areas, break rooms, and locker rooms.

  • Use methods to physically separate employees in all areas of the building, including work areas and other areas such as meeting rooms, break rooms, parking lots, entrance and exit areas, and locker rooms

  • Take the stairs when possible, especially when elevator lobbies are crowded or only going a few flights.

  • Use pre-packaged, single-serving items instead of high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots and bulk snacks.

On-Site Meetings

If possible, conduct work-related meetings outside or by phone or digital platforms. If on-site meetings are necessary, meetings should consist of small groups of employees who maintain social distancing. 

Enclosed Areas

Minimize time spent in enclosed spaces, such as toilets and break areas, as these are potentially high transmission areas.

Commuting and Work-Related Travel


If your employer has determined that telecommuting is feasible for your workplace and/or job duties, employees who can work from home should do so.

State and local laws may mandate telecommuting in some industries for a limited time period.

General Travel

Follow CDC travel guidance to protect yourself and others during travel to and from work and on business trips.

Wash your hands before you leave for work and when you arrive at work, as described in the course. Bring sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you are unable to wash your hands at your destination.

During travel, practice social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet from others — for example, when you are waiting at a bus station or selecting seats on a train.

Wear face coverings in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, particularly when required by law.

Your employer may adjust work shifts to permit commuting during less busy times, consistent with business needs.

Consider using transportation options that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving, or riding by car either alone or with household members).

Individuals who have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should consider the risks and benefits of non-essential travel.

  • Avoid gathering in groups, and stay out of crowded spaces when possible, especially at transit stations and stops.

  • Consider skipping a row of seats between yourself and other riders if possible.

  • Enter and exit buses through rear entry doors if possible.

  • After you leave the transit station or stop, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

Public Transportation

In addition to the general principals listed above, you should:

  • As much as possible, avoid touching frequently touched surfaces such as kiosks, digital interfaces such as touchscreens and fingerprint scanners, ticket machines, turnstiles, handrails, restroom surfaces, elevator buttons, and benches.

  • If you must touch these surfaces, as soon as you can, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, as described in the course.

  • Use touchless payment and no-touch trash cans and doors when available. Exchange cash or credit cards by placing them in a receipt tray or on the counter rather than by hand, if possible.

  • When possible, consider traveling during non-peak hours when there are likely to be fewer people.

Rideshare, carpool, taxi, and for-hire vehicle passengers

In addition to the general principals listed above, you should:

  • Don’t ride in a vehicle if the driver or other passengers who don’t live with you are not properly wearing face coverings.

  • Avoid contact with surfaces frequently touched by passengers or drivers, such as the door frame and handles, windows, and other vehicle parts.

  • If you must touch these surfaces, as soon as you can, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, as described in the course.

  • Don’t accept free water bottles and avoid touching magazines or other items that may be provided to passengers.

  • Use touchless payment when available.

  • Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle to only those necessary.

  • Avoid shared rides where multiple passengers are picked up who are not in the same household.

  • Sit as far as possible from the driver, such as in the rear seat diagonally across from the driver. In larger vehicles, such as vans and buses, sit in the back seat so you can remain at least six feet away from the driver.

  • Ask the driver to improve the vehicle’s ventilation if possible — for example, by opening the windows or setting the air ventilation/air conditioning on non-recirculation mode.

Health Monitoring


Employee Temperature Checks

Your employer may implement temperature checks prior to entering the workplace when allowed or required by applicable law.


Wellness Screening Program

Your employer may implement a wellness screening program when allowed or required by applicable law.


Employees with COVID-19 Symptoms, Diagnosis, or Exposure

You are not allowed to report to work or remain at work if you have COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis, or exposure.

Consult with your employer on how to appropriately report work absences and COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis, or exposure.

Employers and employees should comply with all federal, state, and/or local laws or guidelines regarding when employees with COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis, or exposure are allowed to return to the workplace or when to report cases to state or local health authorities.

Additional Resources

Other Workplace Considerations

Contact your County Health Department for additional information and guidance as local requirements may vary. 

Refer to government authorities and your employer’s policies and procedures for any other required COVID-19 workplace and/or job-specific safety measures, including but not limited to health screening, face coverings, social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

Workplace safety requirements and guidelines continue to develop as more information about COVID-19 is discovered.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only.
It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or medical advice.