As we continue to return to work, more companies are returning to their offices or facilities. This return to work will have your employees feeling a mix of emotions; anticipation, fear, excitement, uncertainty, etc. Help ease their transition back by following these tips for how to successfully return to work.
Communicate an Action Plan with Your Team
Make sure your employees understand your company’s plan for returning to the office or facility. Your leadership or HR team(s) must communicate an action plan with your team on what returning to work looks like. Most likely, your employees will be returning in phases; this may already be happening within your organization.
Ensuring your employees are all on the same page for returning to work will make the transition from remote back to a traditional work environment easier and lead to less productivity.
Have Safety Measures in Place
The health and safety of your employees should be your biggest priority as you return to work. Have CDC recommended safety measures in place to ensure your team has a safe and healthy environment to return to – not only for their protection but to help them focus on the job at hand instead of worrying about how protected they are.
Before your employees even enter the workplace, your organization should consider hiring a disinfecting and sanitizing solution, like EG Environmental, to prep the physical space for your team’s return. Your company should also consider having this disinfecting and sanitizing solution available regularly to ensure your workplace remains safe, healthy, and protected.
Your company should also be conducting temperature screenings as your employees return to the workplace. These temp screenings will help mitigate any potential chance of COVID entering your workplace by ensuring each employee who enters is not running a fever. Instead of training and using members of your own team to run these screenings, consider hiring a trusted partner.
Encourage your employees to practice good hygiene habits as well. Leaders should lead by example by washing their hands, using coughing/sneezing etiquette, staying home if not feeling well, routinely disinfecting their personal equipment, and keeping plenty of hand sanitizer available. Companies should also include signage throughout the workplace, highlighting these good hygiene practices as a reminder to employees.
Update Policies & Procedures as Things Change
COVID-19 has been an ever-changing situation, so your organization must be agile in updating its policies and procedures as things continue to change. The way your company does business will most likely not look like it did pre-COVID, so your policies and procedures will need to reflect this shift in business.
First, your company should look at their sick leave policy and include language around COVID-19. Do employees get extra days off if they test positive for the coronavirus? If so, how many? Are you offering leave for employees who live with or care for an infected person?
Second, your company should consider how your employees conduct meetings and interact together. Virtual meetings will still be the norm for the foreseeable future, even if each employee is back in the office. Companies should also re-work office or facility layouts, so there is at least six feet of space between employees. Social distancing practices will still be essential as your employees return to the office or facility to ensure their health and safety.
It is important to have a “marathon, not a sprint” mentality when it comes to these policy and procedure changes. Even as we begin shifting back to “normal,” the threat of COVID will be here until there is a proven cure or a vaccine in place.
Support Employees’ Mental and Physical Health
As we mentioned earlier, returning to work will have your employees feeling a mix of emotions, so supporting their mental and physical health is crucial for a successful return. While of course COVID has threatened people’s physical health, quarantine, and social distancing has caused many Americans to struggle with their mental health. Many have been struggling with feelings of stress, irritability, confusion, and anger as they navigate through the uncertainty of a pandemic.
Your leaders and/or HR teams should gather mental health resources for your employees to use and provide support if someone on your team is struggling. Your company might also consider starting a virtual mental health support group for your employees.
Supporting your employees’ physical health is just as important. Taking measures to ensure the workplace is a safe environment is the first step. Beyond having a healthy workplace, encourage your employees to take care of their physical health outside of work as well.
COVID-19 has forever changed the way we work. Its crucial employers do what they can to help their employees successfully return to work. This includes communicating with their team action plans for moving forward, putting safety measures in place, implementing new policies and procedures, and supporting their mental and physical health. Employers who continue to anticipate and navigate through this pandemic wisely will be more successful going forward.
About EG Workforce Solutions
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