At the time of writing, the vaccine rollout appears to tentatively be going well. As a result, it looks like businesses will be able to return to their offices at some point this year. No one wants to put a hard date on when this will happen as so much remains uncertain, but there are things you can do to make the transition back into the workplace as seamless as possible. Here’s some things to consider when planning your return to the workplace.
Normal isn’t returning, so embrace the new
While it’s tempting to think that everything will just go back to normal once the pandemic is over, this is highly unlikely to be the case. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Many employees work/life balance and relationship to their role will have changed over the course of the pandemic, so looking at more flexible forms of working such as job shares, allowing employees to work from other locations or staggering shifts can be good ways of both offering an improved work-life balance for employees, as well as allowing for a more staged approach to returning to the office. Consult your employees to create a plan that works for everyone.
Risk assessments and health and safety measures
Employers have a duty to safeguard their employee’s health and thus must carry out appropriate risk assessments and ensure their compliance with government guidelines around social distancing and hygiene. However, be sure to consider what level of restrictions would allow a meaningful amount of people to enter the workplace. If 2m social distancing means an office can only be 20% full, it may not be cost effective to re-enter the workplace until restrictions are lifted further. Having an idea of what level of restrictions will allow you to get back into the office meaningfully will allow you to react quickly when those restrictions are reached.
Put your employee’s safety first
Even if manageable restrictions are in place, you should always put the wellbeing of your employees first. This doesn’t just mean in terms of health and safety protocols; you should also consider the mental health of your employees and how comfortable they feel re-entering the workplace. For example, if an employee has to travel on public transport and doesn’t currently feel safe doing so or would prefer to be able to remain in contact with someone vulnerable to the virus until they are vaccinated, you should make every effort to facilitate them to remain working at home until they feel comfortable doing so. Furthermore, people may take a while to readjust to working in the office, so be understanding and don’t pile the pressure on too quickly.
Minc’s HR services can help you adhere to the guidelines and support your employees through their return to the workplace. Find out more here here.