Church Mutual said it’s planning a tentative employee return to its offices starting on Sept. 8, 2020. A number of pandemic-related safety protocols will be in play to help make it happen.

Currently, more than 90 percent of the Wisconsin-based insurer’s 1,300 employees are working from home due to stay-at-home guidance and health risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. CEO Rich Poirier said that the return will not be a “flip-the-switch” undertaking. Rather, he said in prepared remarks, the date could change if the ever-evolving pandemic situation requires it.

“From the onset of the situation, we have had two big priorities: keeping our employees as safe as possible and serving our customers. To date, we have been successful with both and we don’t want to compromise that,” Poirier said. “We will continuously monitor pandemic infection rates and spread. If the risk of illness increases, or we see any other negative impact from states beginning to re-open, we will revise our date. The date is a target and subject to change.”

As envisioned, Sept. 8 would kick off a phased, careful return-to-office initiative that will likely progress from September through the end of December or beyond. The company’s Incident Response Team, activated in early March, is creating a plan expected to include temperature checks and face coverings for anyone who wishes to enter a Church Mutual facility. It may also include flexible start times for employees to enable social distancing. Offices and other workspaces will be modified as needed to support social distancing requirements and hygiene considerations.

Steve Rominske, chair of the Incident Response Team as well as the company’s senior vice president, chief actuary and chief risk officer, said that federal, state and local guidelines will apply to each location. Church Mutual has two large office buildings in its Merrill, Wis., headquarters, as well as facilities in Denver; Madison, Wis.; and Mechanicsburg, Pa. In addition, the company employs nearly 300 permanent, work-from-home employees nationwide. They will be expected to follow the same guidelines when they conduct business outside their home offices.

During the current stay-at-home situation, selected employees have been allowed to work onsite if their duties cannot be performed from home, or if their home Internet connectivity is inadequate. That will continue, as will precautions to keep them as safe as possible, according to the company.

As employees slowly return to work, they may request extended work-from-home arrangements if they or those in their households have any health or safety concerns, Church Mutual said.

Source: Church Mutual