Unlike anything seen on the global scale before, the pandemic has caused a global challenge. Some places have experienced worse hit than others forcing partial or full lockdowns on all sectors except for essential services. Many workers have been working from home since the lockdown started to solve the social distancing requirement. However, the federal government and several states have started easing restrictions that leave employers with one major concern: how they can make it easier for their employees to return to their work environments.
The following are three ways employers could use to make back-to-work easier for their employees.
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- Physical safety of the workplace.
Employers must make sure their staff’s physical health is safe in their respective workplaces. It generally translates to:
- Establishing control measures in the workplace such as body and health temp screening, limiting visitor count, and sanitization procedures
- Putting a plan for exposure-response in place, including the isolation process, reporting measures for COVID-19, giving orders to stay home, and contact tracing.
- Social distance accounting, like redesigning the workplace arrangement to minimize interactions
There are several online resources, which include a checklist for return-to-work, CDC guidelines, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
2. The psychological safety of the workplace
Reopening the workplace could mean mental threats to their staff’s mental wellness. It would not be easy to make the transition back to work from home. These challenges include difficulty in readjusting after prolonged isolation, domestic circumstances, grief, and multitasking. To adequately address these issues, HR management must realize the different effects of its employees. It is easier to achieve this by speaking to staff members on an individual level and explaining to them the measures to ensure their safety when resuming back to work. Other measures employers can adopt to aid the transition include:
- Leading with understanding and compassion
- Giving support to the employees through Employee Assistance Programs or any alike
- Privatizing sensitive info like screening results and putting measures that prevent discrimination.
- Using surveys to gather feedback from the employees and other findings necessary for changes in the organization
- Inspiring confidence in the employees when returning to work for them to produce the maximum effort
3. Rebuilding a communal sense
There are more ways a business-facing hardship over the pandemic period will rise again other than just financially. Readjusting to the new and changing culture in the work environment may cause anxiety among the staff regarding their workplace position and workplace. A vital way to repair the company’s culture and make employees feel welcome is to re-capture your employees’ work element. These ways include incorporating cross-functional collaboration, celebrating achievements, and creating team-building events. Such measures, when adopted, are effective for rebuilding the workplace camaraderie. Similarly, the HR leaders ought to support new hires in case of any. It is a great move to offer the best onboarding experience for newbies by making them feel like part of the team, which will, in turn, strengthen solidarity and workplace relationships.
After the pandemic, it may not be easy to resume normal working in the workplace. Employers need to make sure that adequate measures are providing psychological and physical safety for their employees. It will be easier to return to work after addressing all these challenges successfully.