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6 Questions for the Boss Who Wants You Back in Your Cubicle

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6 Questions for the Boss Who Wants You Back in Your Cubicle

The Atlantic,

5 min read
6 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Ready to return to the office? More importantly, is the office ready to provide a safe workplace for you?

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  • Applicable
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  • Concrete Examples


Vaccinations are on the rise in the United States and COVID-19 cases are dropping. Businesses are preparing to bring employees back to the office. Your boss may soon ask you to return to a shared workplace. How can you be sure the office is safe? Writing in The Atlantic, journalist Rachel Gutman outlines questions to ask your employer about health protocols and policies. Wise COVID-19 precautions lead to having a workplace that’s healthier in other ways as well. Tracking ever-changing coronavirus safety rules is challenging, but Gutman tells you how to get the information about your office that you need to be able to evaluate the risks for yourself.


While no one can guarantee a contagion-free workplace, a business is responsible for providing a safe, healthy environment for its employees.

A return to the office seems imminent. A large percentage of the United States’ adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and major corporations are planning to phase in a return to on-site work during the summer and fall of 2021.

Any place where people gather, breathe the same air, shake hands and touch the same surfaces provides opportunities for illnesses to spread. However, the lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic about ventilation, distancing, masking and cleaning can, if properly applied, reduce the role of the workplace in spreading COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the future.

In the meantime, when your turn comes to return to the office, you can inquire about your company’s physical safeguards and policies to evaluate how safe you’ll be. Your employer should be prepared and willing to answer these questions before asking workers to return to a shared workspace. Every employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthy environment for...

About the Author

Rachel Gutman is a deputy managing editor at The Atlantic magazine.

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