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Returning to Work Amid COVID? Here’s What Employers Should be Thinking About

by Janelle Hill Jun 15, 2020

Employees wearing face masks. Hand sanitizer stations placed in high-traffic areas. Returning to work will no doubt look different amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but what types of considerations should employers be thinking about? 

The Forum for Ethics in the Workplace tackled the issue in a virtual panel discussion—Workplace Ethics & Integrity in a Transitioning COVID-19 Environment—during its quarterly ethics breakfast. 

“There are two points and two sides to this—the organization needs to operate and the employee needs to be able to be heard and express their feelings,” said Audra Kahr, CFO/COO and treasurer at Cedar Crest College. “But I think it all boils down to your policy.” 

Kahr notes that from the outset, Cedar Crest instituted a clear and defined COVID policy and outlined its expectations of employees. The college recently had employees return to work at a 30 percent capacity, but offered a three-week transition window—allowing those who felt anxious or fearful to remain working from home during that time. 

Co-panelist Robert Dietzel, co-founder and principal at KMRD Partners, agreed that striking the right balance is essential. 

“As a human resources department dealing with people, this flexibility and compromise goes down that ethics path,” he said. “It’s a very difficult issue. You’re trying to create an environment where employees believe they’re safe and they can be productive.” 


The Forum for Ethics in the Workplace is a subsidiary corporation of DeSales University; its mission is to provide opportunities for people to come together for study, reflection, conversation, and action on ethical issues in the workplace, especially in the Greater Lehigh Valley. Learn more at