The Coronavirus and its potential risks have completely shifted how work is done in the workplace, specifically affecting employees and their willingness to work in the office. As businesses begin to allow employees to return to their physical space, this comes with many challenges, including managing employees’ expectations and fears.
So how can business leaders ease the worries of employees while safely transitioning staff back into the workplace?
Here are 5 ways to calm employees’ fears of returning to the office:
- Provide Clear and Frequent Updates – One of the simplest ways to calm the fears of returning employees is to provide clear and frequent communications to the entire staff. Provide info that includes: How will employees need to enter the building? What is the protocol once inside the building? What happens if employees feel sick? What measures are the company taking to provide a safe environment? Provide clear information to the staff and inform employees accordingly whenever there are any updates.
- Take the Proper Safety Precautions – Engaging in the proper safety precautions as recommended by, OSHA, the CDC and WHO is important during this time of transition. This not only provides reassurance to employees of a safe work environment, but also avoids the potential exposure or spread of COVID-19. Be sure to regularly check updates from safety officials to ensure the company is doing everything possible to mitigate Anytime there are changes within the workplace related to COVID-19, provide clear communication to employees regarding them.
- Be Creative in the Work Schedule – Consider creating alternative work schedules to reduce the number of employees in the office at any one time. This may include alternative workweeks, rotating telecommuting weeks, or staggering ed With fewer people in the office at one time, it reduces the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. Determine a work schedule that allows the company to best complete its goals while also taking appropriate safety precautions.
- Be Willing to Listen – Encourage employees to share concerns with appropriate leadership regarding any safety concerns, with the ability to do so on an individual basis. Provide a place and time for employees to share concerns and/or possible solutions. Let them know their concerns and fears are normal and valid. This assists them in not only feeling safe physically but also emotionally during a time when peoples’ emotions are heightened.
- Consider Work from Home – Although it would be ideal for all employees to come back into the office, the reality is that some employees may be high-risk for COVID-19 or have childcare challenges or other concerns. In these cases, provide flexibility in returning to the office. Ask employees how the company can support them and allow them to work remotely as is possible. Assuming they are reasonable requests, meet employees’ needs so they can return to the office as soon as possible.
While every business has its own set of challenges and will look different in its transition of employees back into the workplace, communicating and reassuring employees of a safe environment will be a helpful start. Take the time to carefully craft your reopening game plan by keeping these five guidelines in mind.
For assistance in creating a return-to-work game plan and providing a successful transition for employees returning to work, contact Close HR Connections.