Businesses around the world are re-opening their doors again, now that government restrictions are being lifted. You could argue that the closing of workplaces in response to the virus was the ‘easy’ part, as there are many new things businesses now need to consider when re-opening in order to protect and reassure their staff.
Support Your Workforce
As a business leader, it is important to be conscious of your employees’ health concerns, particularly during such an unprecedented health pandemic. Some of your employees will naturally be concerned about the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when returning to the office and so being flexible and preparing for this transition is essential for creating a safe, supportive and productive environment.
In terms of being flexible, work out which employees are happy to return to the office and allow others to remain working from home, at least for the short to medium-term. This includes those who are considered to be ‘high risk’, for example, anyone with an underlying health issue or women who are pregnant. To avoid full occupancy and to make social distancing easier, you also might want to have your employees return to work in stages, starting with specific teams or each team could alternate the days in which its team members worked in the office.
New Measures in the Workplace
There is a lot to consider to demonstrate that you’re prioritising your employees’ physical and mental health, so preparation for returning to the workplace is crucial. The physical layout of the office needs to be rearranged to make sure social distancing can be adhered to. This includes the working, meeting and eating spaces. Basic personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as hand sanitiser, also needs to be available to all staff, along with plenty of signage to remind everyone to take extra precaution to avoid spreading the virus by following cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
Everyone needs to play their part and so communication remains highly important to make sure all employees are aware of the changes before setting foot in the office. An effective way to achieve this is to roll out mandatory online training, with access to an easy-to-read handbook that clearly outlines the new modes of work.
Managing New Hires
With economic progress underway as lockdowns have been lifted, hiring has recommenced. Instead of a stream of interviewees and unnecessary footfall in the office, we’ve previously advised companies to conduct remote interviews. Onboarding and meeting the team can also be done remotely if it’s essential that the new employee needs to be physically in the workplace, it’s more important than ever in terms of resources, morale and reducing staff turnover to get the right people for the job, the first time around.
Ensure you thoroughly verify any new hires’ professional documents, including education, work experience and legitimate references.
Returning to the workplace post-COVID-19 won’t mean returning back to the ‘normal’ working environment we enjoyed pre-COVID-19 by any means, but we hope these tips will help make the transition smoother!