May 10 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis

Behavioral scientists have told us behaviors that are reinforced are most often repeated. We have begun to realize that people do things for a reason or reasons, and those reasons are referred to as "influences." To understand why people do what they do, we need to understand what influences them to do it. To change what they do, we need to change or modify the influences.

As we begin to end the COVID-19 quarantine efforts, we need to manage the influences that will impact workers' decisions to return to work. Reinforcement One effective but underused method of identifying these influences is to simply ask. Asking workers what concerns they have about returning to work and addressing those concerns can influence the decision to return. While the pandemic has been concerning, it has also given many workers time off to stay home and feel safe. Some have even continued to receive pay or have gotten government assistance for staying home. These factors will also influence the decision to return or not. We owe it to our workers and each other to make sound decisions on returning to work but also to be aware of what outside factors will influence workers in making their decisions.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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