Build a Cross-Functional Task Force

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Create a cross-functional task force.
  • Establish procedures and steps for the task force.

The first and most essential step to creating a return to the workplace plan is to create a cross-functional task force and related subgroups. Having a task force enables you to coordinate a cohesive return to the workplace plan across your organization.

Use the following guidance to determine what procedures you will (or will not) include in a return to the workplace plan for the task force. We created these guidelines to help you brainstorm, and you’re encouraged to come up with your own ideas and add them directly into the plan.

There are a lot of moving parts involved in creating a reopening plan, and there’s a lot of information in this unit. Check out the resource links at the bottom of the page for even more in-depth information in the Resilience Toolkit Powered by Fusion as you consider how to create a cross-functional task force within your organization.

What Is a Cross-Functional Task Force?

A cross-functional task force meeting remotely

The cross-functional task force is a centralized, multidisciplinary group that plans and oversees recovery efforts for the office, lab, manufacturing site, or other type of workplace in your organization. While task force members are assigned to individual groups, the task force will be meeting and working closely together weekly (or more often) to finalize policies and protocols for returning to the office. A multidisciplinary group offers a wealth of diverse experience and ensures that important considerations aren’t overlooked.

Cross-Functional Task Force: Subteam Structure and Membership

Define the structure and membership of the subteams that will be part of your task force. This chart provides examples of possible subteams and potential key stakeholders that can be part of the planning and execution process.

Subteam Name
Recommended Key Disciplines
Task Force Leader Team
Define a task force leader team based on your organization's structure. This can include business continuity or resilience managers, security and crisis management, or corporate real estate and facilities.
Facilities Team
Corporate real estate and facilities, health safety environmental (HSE), workplace strategy and experience, security and crisis management, office managers
Virus Prevention and Protocols Team
Security and crisis management, human resources (HR)
Employee Access Control Team
Security and crisis management, corporate real estate and facilities
Personal protective equipment (PPE) and Supplies Procurement Team
Communication and Training Team
Communications, HR
Legal Team
Legal (corporate, regulatory, and employment)
Employee Wellness Team
Information Technology and Information Security Team
Information technology, information security
Finance Team

Subteams’ Roles and Responsibilities

Task Force Leader Team

Your organization should assign an individual or small team to coordinate and execute the return-to-the-workplace plan. The task force leader team creates an initial plan, coordinates and manages each subteam’s progress, and provides direction. The task force lead is responsible for overall recovery efforts for the entire organization. The task force leader, depending on the size of the organization, might have a few members to help them coordinate execution of the plan. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Building a plan (phased approach)
  • Creating a cross-functional task force team for return to office plans or rollout
  • Creating a return to the workplace employee survey
  • Creating teams/cohorts and a team schedule for returning employees
  • Assigning workstations for teams
  • Defining triggers for reopening the workplace
  • Reporting progress, status, and challenges of the plan to the crisis management team or leadership team

Facilities Team

This team works on the facilities’ readiness process. The team is responsible for conducting an assessment of the physical building, redesigning physical space, and implementing appropriate controls for safe reentry. The facilities team works closely with the legal team to ensure regulatory requirements are met. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Determining if employees will be assigned to a workstation or can sit in open seating
  • Creating physical layout plans to meet social distance standards
  • Implementing safety measures for in-person customer interactions
  • Reviewing common areas and single-rooms allocation
  • Adjusting conference room capacity
  • Determining configurations needed for kitchen and break rooms
  • Addressing safety measures and confirmation needs for printer stations (or rooms)
  • Establishing weekly deep cleaning procedures
  • Addressing waste management needs for PPE
  • Reviewing restrooms setup
  • Coordinating with building management on HVAC and airflow measures
  • Deep cleaning each office before the opening

Virus Prevention and Protocols Team

This team develops policies and protocols to ensure the safety and wellness of all employees. The virus prevention and protocols team works closely with the facilities and legal teams to ensure alignment to physical space changes and regulatory requirements.

Policies and guidelines this team is responsible for include:

  • Social and physical distance policy
  • Voluntary or mandatory temperature check policy and procedures
  • Contact tracing
  • Self-certification policy
  • Travel policy
  • Visitor policy
  • PPE policy
  • Cleaning and sanitation policies and procedures
  • Guidelines and policy for transportation to or from workplace
  • Positive COVID-19 case guidelines and policy

Employee Access Control Team

This team manages social distancing protocols surrounding arriving and departing employees, including visitors and contractors. This team works closely with the task force team leader and virus prevention and protocol team by providing feedback on what protocols are working well, and providing additional mitigation options using social distancing that should be implemented.

Responsibilities include:

  • Observing adherence to social distance policies
  • Capturing observations of what works well and what doesn’t work well
  • Documenting enhancement solutions based on culture and behavior of employees and external personnel
  • Creating an ongoing sync-up with a task force leader and the virus prevention and protocol team

PPE and Supplies Procurement Team

This team procures and forecasts needs for essential supplies in order to properly implement and sustain the return to the workforce plan. This team works closely with the facilities team to understand PPE purchasing needs based on redesigned facility results.

This team also works closely with the finance team to ensure the budgeting process and expectations are clear, and that materials can be purchased on time.

Responsibilities include:

  • Forecasting cleaning and sanitation supply needs for at least 60 days for each location
  • Procuring cleaning and sanitation supplies
  • Forecasting sticker and floor mat needs for each location
  • Procuring floor stickers, floor mats, and PPE waste management bins
  • Forecasting PPE needs for at least 60 days for each location
  • Procuring PPE for each location
  • Forecasting and procuring other applicable supply needs, such as tissues and single-use kitchen supplies

Employee Wellness Team

The employee wellness team is responsible for the health and wellness of employees for the duration of the return to the workplace plan. This team creates new policies and reviews and revises existing policies to meet the evolving needs of employees during the crisis.

This team works closely with the legal team to ensure compliance with federal, state, and other regulatory requirements. This team also collaborates with the virus prevention and protocols team to ensure policies are aligned and don’t contradict each other.

Responsibilities include:

  • Creating a work from home best-practices guidelines
  • Developing mental health resources, documentation, and guidelines
  • Developing a flexible schedule policy and guidelines
  • Reviewing and revising sick leave policy as applicable
  • Reviewing and revising time off policy as needed
  • Developing a hotline or a way for employees to reach out if they have concerns or to report a positive case

Communication and Training Team

The communication and training team is responsible for all return to the workplace communications. This team manages return to the workplace preparedness training for employees, vendors, and management. This team works closely with the virus prevention and protocols and employee wellness teams, making sure to create dissemination and training methodologies based on the most up-to-date policies and procedures. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Appointing an internal communication lead
  • Appointing an external communication lead
  • Creating an approval process for all communications
  • Determining how policies and protocols will be disseminated
  • Developing training videos or other online training for redesigned physical space
  • Communicating all approved policies and protocols

Information Technology and Information Security Team

The information technology team is responsible for recommending enhancements for technology resources and communication tools to enable an effective and efficient hybrid model of work for remote and onsite employees. This team is responsible for ongoing monitoring and adjustments to security controls for remote employees and for employees returning to the workplace. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Reviewing current telecommunication setup and identifying opportunities to enable a better combined in-person and from-home work experience
  • Reviewing security threats and vulnerabilities for remote workers
  • Validating that on-site infrastructure is ready for a return to the office

Finance Team

The finance team is responsible for reviewing and approving the spending requests by the subteams of the task force. This team works closely with the task force team leader and the PPE and supplies procurement team.

Responsibilities include:

  • Providing purchasing guidelines and budget expectations
  • Reviewing and approving requested expenses

Legal Team

The legal team provides oversight and advice from a legal perspective, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and legal best practices to minimize the organization’s risk and liability. This team should be involved with almost all of the other sub-teams; members of the legal team should attend meetings and weigh in on decisions.

Responsibilities include:

  • Identifying regulations and compliance standards for each location
  • Providing guidance and legal advice to all subteams on related activities

To execute a workplace reopening plan successfully, you need to coordinate and manage ongoing activities. Throughout the reopening process, make sure to capture lessons learned and identify other actions that your organization can implement to improve its resilience posture. 

In the next unit, we walk through steps you can take to create an after-action report that continues to inform your decision-making throughout the reopening process, and in the cases of a future crisis.


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