How to Effectively Navigate Employees Back to Work After COVID-19
Across the country, provinces are slowing re-opening the economy and that means that many employees who are currently working from home or who are furloughed will be able to return to work. But this is no ordinary return to work – COVID-19 has not been eradicated. It still presents a real danger, and for many, a real source of fear. Because of this, navigating your employees back to work may prove challenging.
The time to start planning your re-opening is now, even if your company has not been given the green light to fully reopen yet. The following are some steps you can start to take.
Steps to take when considering reopening your business
Engage with your employees during the current situation
Employees who have been working from home for an extended period can begin to feel isolated. It is important to keep the lines of communication open and check in on them occasionally – not just to check on the status of deliverables but to see how they are doing and to keep them engaged with the team.
Review work safety policies
When you finally reopen your business, things are not going to be the way that they were before. You should review your current safety policies and see what needs to be updated in light of the coronavirus pandemic. This might include new policies for social distancing, PPE, or other measures to help stop the spread of the viruses.
Each province including Ontario and British Columbia have put together lists of sector specific guidelines for re-opening. As part of your own policy review, you should see how well your own policies align with these guidelines and make adjustments if necessary.
Evaluate your physical space
The new safety measures to protect against COVID-19 will require some employers to re-evaluate their physical spaces. This may include putting more space between employees, putting up cubicles where there were open workspaces, or using floor decals to help your customers maintain their distance from one another. If you have an open reception area, you may need to consider getting a plexiglass barrier for your reception staff.
And, if you simply do not have enough physical space, you may also want to consider integrated telework into your longer-term plans. Consider which staff need to physically be in the office and which staff have been working well from home. Perhaps you do not require your entire team to be physically present all of the time.
Account for factors beyond your control
Expect that at least some of your employees are going to have a difficult time returning to work. Some have children that are no longer in school. Some may be caring for ill family members. And some may have extreme anxiety that they or a loved one will contract COVID-19.
Maintaining open communication with your team will be key to knowing how to accommodate for these needs and concerns.
Build an environment of trust
As a leader, you need to demonstrate to your team that you care about their well-being. This starts with communication from you. At a time when so many people have lost their jobs, some employees might not feel comfortable speaking up and saying they need a certain accommodation – or letting you know that they are feeling unwell and need to stay home. You need to create a safe environment for them to do so.
And the time for you to start communicating is now. Share reopening plans that are still under development, ask for feedback, and let your team know that their safety is your top priority.
Contact TeksMed Today
Reopening your business after COVID-19 may well be a challenging process, but you don’t have to do everything on your own. For assistance, contact us today and learn how we can help.