The workplace will be a whole new world: A guide to returning to the office – The Globe and Mail

Brian Thiessen, QC, Lauren Tomasich

Sep 4, 2020

“Properly implemented” temperature checks will be required for some employees as companies return to the office, Osler partner Brian Thiessen tells The Globe and Mail. In his article, author Joe Castaldo explores the various challenges that employees and businesses are facing as they transition back to the office. The article explains that many companies already have employees in their respective offices, or are preparing to admit small numbers on a voluntary basis in the near future, as they attempt to blend remote work with time in the office. Brian, a partner in Osler’s Employment and Labour Group and the firm’s Privacy and Data Management Group, explains how proper screening is one key tool for employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees.

“The prevailing view among Canadian privacy lawyers is that non-contact temperature screenings are on-side the law as long as they’re properly implemented,” Brian tells The Globe and Mail. Brian adds that ideally, the temperature screening should be as discreet as possible. He says that “employers should only record the names of those who test above the temperature limit, and destroy any data when it’s no longer needed.”

The article also offers a detailed overview of how different workspaces, building lobbies and common spaces will look as proper health and safety protocols are put in place.

Osler partner Lauren Tomasich says that throughout the summer, she has driven into the office about once a week, mostly to use boardrooms. She is also trying to maintain a normal routine by going for an occasional coffee in the PATH, and sometimes bumps into a colleague while at the office.

“I actually used to love working from home,” Lauren tells The Globe and Mail. “But you really can’t replicate that face-to-face and the spontaneity of interactions.”

If you subscribe to The Globe and Mail online, read author Joe Castaldo’s article “The workplace will be a whole new world: A guide to returning to the office” in The Globe and Mail.