As states are beginning to reopen, employers are looking to bring employees back to the office. It’s important to put together a solid reopening plan for your business that prioritizes your employees’ well-being and implements up-to-date health measures while navigating the pandemic and its aftermath. Check out our tips below on safely reopening the workplace and easing your employees back into the office.
Create a Reopening Plan
Have a plan in place for how to safely reopen your office that takes pandemic precautions into account. Ensuring your employees feel their health is your first priority will go far in easing their concerns returning to the workplace. This could be instituting hazard pay, offering paid sick days, or being overly cautious.
Make sure your return process is clear and that employees feel safe discussing it. Keep them in the loop about who is implementing the plan, when changes will be made, and when decisions are being made. This could include things like alternating shifts, phasing employees’ return to work in stages, assigning specific seating areas and storage for individuals, and having dedicated meeting spaces with proper distancing in place.
Other things you could consider implementing are providing individual phones and electronics, where possible, to avoid the sharing of items. Consider implementing spacious layouts that allow for proper distancing or creating enclosures to protect employees.
Implement Recommended Health Measures
To ensure your employees feel safe about returning to work, implement recommended health measures. This may mean a more extensive cleaning and sanitization schedule than before, encouraging sick employees to stay home and instituting sick leave policies that are flexible, providing PPE and sanitization stations, promoting personal hygiene, and screening of employees before they return to the workplace and temperature checks on a day-to-day basis. It’s essential to keep employees informed about how these health measures are being implemented, what the timeline is, and how they will be enforced.
Prioritize Transparent Information
Having clear and consistent communications is important to help ease your employees’ anxiety. Sending out regular updates will go a long way towards making your employees feel comfortable. Keep your employees abreast of business performance, changes, and how you’re handling health regulations. Be sure to keep open two-way communication so that your employees know that any concerns are heard.
Be Sensitive to Employee’s Well-Being and Needs
It’s normal for employees to have a high level of anxiety about re-entering the office. Being sensitive to their needs is essential in your reopening plan. Some steps you can take to help ease employee anxiety are to survey them regularly to see how they feel about coming back to work to identify any practical concerns. If you can bring employees back in waves, bring back those who are more comfortable coming back earlier, first.
Keep employees informed about the practicalities of reopening and what being back at work will look and feel like. Make sure your employees feel that their concerns are heard and taken seriously, even if they don’t agree with every decision made. Keep a good stock of wipes, masks, and sanitizers so that your employees feel well taken care of.
Leading with empathy and understanding that your employees are coming from different viewpoints and have experienced the pandemic in different ways will help ease tensions. Coming back to the workplace after furlough or extended remote work may require a mindset shift, prioritize making sure employees understand their requirements and how your company is taking steps to protect their health. Encourage employees to take care of their mental and physical well-being and ensure they have access to mental health resources.
Offer Flexibility and Remote Work Options
One thing we’ve all learned from the pandemic is that for some industries, it’s possible to get work done remotely and on a variety of schedules that accommodate employee’s needs. If you’re unable to commit to remote work fully, consider which employee groups should come back to the office right away and which can be staggered? Determine whether you can accommodate a hybrid work-from-home and remote workforce in a way that ensures there won’t be unintended consequences for offsite workers. While you may not be able to provide everything an employee asks for, be clear that you will do your best to make employees as comfortable as possible.
Desert Medical Careers has been providing healthcare staffing services for over 20 years, placing over 17,000 healthcare employees. If you need help finding qualified employees, give us a call at (602) 468-6300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- HBR.org – https://hbr.org/2020/06/help-your-employees-manage-their-reentry-anxiety
- McKinsey.com – https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/communications-get-personal-how-leaders-can-engage-employees-during-a-return-to-work#
- Fast Company.com – https://www.fastcompany.com/90543986/4-ways-to-help-employees-feel-safe-when-returning-to-work
- Knoll.com – https://www.knoll.com/design-plan/planning/considerations-for-returning-to-a-healthy-workplace/help-your-employees-get-back-to-work-safely
- PWC.com – https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/governance-insights-center/library/covid-19-returning-workplace-boards.html