Despite hopes of regaining a sense of normality in a post-pandemic world, the prospect of returning to the office is still a source of great unease for many.
Making the transition will likely be a difficult time for employees who have only recently come to grips with remote working, or for the vast number of individuals greatly concerned with their health and safety.
As an employer, there are steps you can take to sufficiently care for the wellbeing of your staff during this challenging period of adjustment, and it starts with practicing awareness.
Listen to the Needs of Your Staff
It might sound as straightforward as straightforward can get, but one of the best ways to care for your employees is to simply ask them how they are feeling about their return to work.
Everyone will have their specific worries, hopes and expectations, and asking around can help you define a set plan that takes everyone into account.
A great manager is often one who knows what their employees are feeling and acts on it decisively and empathically.
Consider a Structured Return
Having everyone return to the office at once might prove to be a logistical nightmare, especially if you have not taken adequate steps to introduce new safety measures.
In this regard, thinking about a structured return to work might be ideal. This can mean a gradual reintroduction, perhaps by sticking to part-time hours with only a handful of staff in the first instance.
This is another area in which thinking about the needs of the individual can help determine your ultimate decision.
Introducing New Safety Measures
A complete overhaul of your health and safety regulations might be needed in order to stay updated and relevant to the current government guidelines regarding the COVID pandemic.
This might also mean investing in a new specialized janitorial service that can thoroughly clean and maintain your office on a daily basis.
This can help let your staff know that you are proactively taking measures to put their safety first. A clear and concise protocol should also be implemented for employees to follow should they find themselves in a compromising situation.
The Value of Competent Remote Workers
Thinking about the autonomy and freedom of your staff should be high on the list of priorities, as remote workers everywhere have proven that the highest levels of efficiency and productivity are still very much attainable away from the office.
For example, if your employees would prefer to only come into work on a day when they need to attend a physical meeting, you might want to consider this as a viable option.
An amalgamation of both remote and in-person work is a concept worth bearing in mind for the future of the modern business.
Reorganize the Office Layout
In an effort to adhere to health and safety guidelines such as social distancing, a reorganization of the office might be essential.
This can be done relatively simply, with the introduction of a one-way system and floor markings for your employees to follow.
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