The Covid-19 pandemic has to be the most trying time for a majority of businesses. People were forced into isolation, lockdowns were imposed, and people had to stay at home (alone). For over one year, most companies had their employees work from home and keep social contact at a minimum. During this time, they have forgotten how to communicate with each other, their employers, and clients. They have lost touch with how it feels to work together and socialise. It’s time to return to work.
Table of contents
- 10 Steps to Prepare Your Employees for Post-Covid Return-to-Work
- 1. Planning Team Building Activities
- 2. Conducting Daily Meetings
- 3. Having Lunch Together
- 4. Eliminating Work from Home Programs
- 5. Focusing on Personal Safety
- 6. Allowing for a Transition Period
- 7. Improving Mental Health Resources at the Workplace
- 8. Introduce Shift Work
- 9. Screen before Admitting Employees Back to the Office
- 10. Setting Clear Protocols and Expectations
- The Benefits of Having a Good Post-Covid Return-to-Work Plan for Your Employees for Your Company
With the effects of Covid-19 coming down, businesses are opening up, and employees are shifting from WFH (Work from home) back to the office. As such, companies need to help people work together again and become more productive in their commercial workplaces. Here are the steps your business can make to foster more productivity, socialisation between employees, and cooperation.
10 Steps to Prepare Your Employees for Post-Covid Return-to-Work
While some companies have had their employees return to work after the easing of the pandemic, some are still strategising on how to go about it. Besides customising the offices to handle social distancing, they also have to improve the healthcare services and immediacy for the employees. This section covers some actionable steps on how you can prepare the employees.
1. Planning Team Building Activities
One of the best ways to welcome your employees back to the physical working environment is by organising team building activities. While organising them can be overwhelming, it will help your employees bond and remember to relate with each other. They will learn how to work together towards achieving a common goal. As you plan team building activities or events, you need to consider the timelines so that you can incorporate everyone at the workplace. Remember to sanitise the environment keep everyone safe; social distancing still counts.
2. Conducting Daily Meetings
While working at home, your employees might have had daily meetings but over video conferencing. They might have been effective, but this eliminated the physical aspect. To help your employees bond even better, you need to conduct daily meetings with all the employees. During these meetings, you can teach the employees how to stay safe and help them recap on workplace safety.
3. Having Lunch Together
Whether your employees carry food from home or eat at the cafeteria, having a meal together helps them bond. Instead of having every department go for lunch at a different time, you can release everyone at the same time and let them bond over the lunch hour. They will talk, tell stories, and catch up on work and non-work issues during this time. The better the bond, the better it is for the business.
4. Eliminating Work from Home Programs
If you want your employees to adapt to the workplace environment quickly, you need to eliminate work from home programs. Some employees will want to work from home and will give all excuses to support this. For fairness and equality, ensure that everyone works from the office. It enhances togetherness and helps your employees get settled. While it may be difficult to bring everyone back to work, it is possible.
5. Focusing on Personal Safety
While the main focus is getting the employees back to the physical environment, you also need to ensure that they are coming to a safe working environment. Start by satisfying all the legal requirements that connect to personal safety, their working environment, and how they will cope with emotional stress. Remember that they have been working from home, and the shift will not be easy. For example, most employees have a better chance of staying Covid-free at home than at the office. This is because they can wash their hands more frequently at home and isolate themselves. As an employer, you need to implement safety and innovative disease-control measures for your employees; let them feel safe at the workplace.
6. Allowing for a Transition Period
As stated above, the shift of working from home back to the office is not easy. Your employees have already formed habits over the last year, and they might be challenging to break. Once you request them to return to the office, you need to give them some time to transit. Remember that most habits take three to six months to break or retrain.
7. Improving Mental Health Resources at the Workplace
Mental health is among the biggest challenges today. The pandemic isolated people and further heightened the deterioration of mental health. Today, most people struggle with anger, anxiety, stress, and even depression. As your employees plan to return to work, you need to ensure that you allocate more resources for the sake of mental health. Your employees need access to mental health resources to be productive.
8. Introduce Shift Work
How much space do you have at the workplace? With the pandemic, social distancing is inevitable. If you do not have enough space to accommodate all your employees, you need to introduce shift work. This means that your employees work in groups from time to time. For example, five employees could work the morning shift while the other five work the evening shift. It could also be that five people work in one week, and the rest work the following week. The plan is far much better than having everyone at the workplace. As you set the shift work, you need to think of the timeframes and the goals for your organisation. Ensure that you allow for some time in between shifts for cleaning and sanitisation.
9. Screen before Admitting Employees Back to the Office
To mitigate the chance of bringing Covid-19 back into the office, your company must first screen employees for the virus. Besides the testing, you must also have a set of screening questions to help you keep the workplace environment safer. With these results, you know whether an employee should remain at home or proceed into the workplace.
10. Setting Clear Protocols and Expectations
Your employees might have lost a grip on their expectations and protocols (physically) at the workplace, especially since they have been at home for quite some time. Following this, you need to set clear protocols and expectations and let them know what is expected. It is a new normal that everyone must adapt to stand out in their respective industries competitively.
The Benefits of Having a Good Post-Covid Return-to-Work Plan for Your Employees for Your Company
Now that your employees are back to work and comfortable, how does this affect your business? The most obvious benefit you get is happier employees.
Better Collaboration among Employees
When your employees bond and connect better, they can collaborate and deliver better services and products for the clients. This collaboration will be a great stepping stone as people get back to work.
More Motivation, More Work
There is nothing better than having motivated employees. They will dedicate their all to the company’s goals and ambitions as they are happy and comfortable. Even more, motivated employees exhibit lower absenteeism levels, bringing in improved quality and better customer service. A happy employee makes customers happy.
Improved Company Productivity
Motivation often determines how hard the employees are willing to work for your business and how productive you will be. The employees work harder, better, and enhance the delivery of services. This, in turn, makes your company more productive.
Withdrawing work from home programs from your company is not an easy step. Besides disorienting the flexibility, you may also experience some resistance from your employees. As you prepare a post-Covid return-to-work plan, you need to keep everyone informed and well-considered. Think of the staff members, assisting workers, clients, and the environment at large. It will not only help flatten the curve but also boost productivity for your business in the face of the pandemic. Contact us.