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Reintroducing Employees to the Workplace Post-Lockdown

By | Keith Coppersmith | Business Journalist | Bizzmarkblog.com

Although the situation in Europe has improved, the pandemic is still not over. However, since the economy all around the world is suffering, people just have to get back to work. Some were able to work from home during the lockdown that was introduced in different forms in a lot of countries but some weren’t able to.

Regardless of the situation, the next period is going to be tough for both the employers who have to prepare the working space and change many things to ensure a healthy working environment and the employees who are afraid of being exposed to the virus. So, let’s see how this transition can be made easier. 

Consider remote working

For starters, due to the sheer necessity for creating a distance between the employees, it’s best for employers to consider which of the employees need to come to work and which can work from home. If the nature of their work is such that they can work from home, one solution could be to create two groups and rotate them so that one week/month one group is in the office, and then the other group for the following week/month. In this way, you won’t have too many people in one place.

Many companies who haven’t considered remote working earlier are pondering it now since as long as the work is done as it should and on time, it’s irrelevant whether your employees are doing it in their PJs from the living room or the office. So, unless it is really necessary, some employees can continue working from home which can also decrease some of the costs for the employer.

Improve internal communication

The employees need to be informed at all times and for that to be able, it’s essential for the employers to improve the internal channels of communication and insist on transparency. This means that all the facts about the virus and how it will affect their daily work need to be accessible at any time, as well as any decisions that are subsequently made.

There are many software solutions that can serve this purpose so it’s only a question of choosing the one that benefits the company the most in terms of finance and UX. If some of the employees are working from home and with the idea of keeping a distance between those that are present in the office, having a good communication channel is what will ensure everything is synced and finished on time. 

Make them feel safe

WHO has offered a model for businesses to be able to ensure a healthy working environment through occupational safety and health measures but what’s essential is for the employees to sit at a distance from each other and that they aren’t in groups in any of the smaller spaces, such as the kitchen. Wiping door handles and any surfaces that are used by a lot of people is crucial.

Also, the offices need to be cleaned regularly and if the employees work in shifts and use the same table, keyboard, etc., then the working station should be disinfected even more often. Having soap and disposable paper towels is a must and it would be great if they also get surgical masks and hand sanitizers to make them feel even more secure. Placing signs to remind employees how to behave is important since it’s easy to forget to keep distance with their heads buried in work.

Reevaluate the workload

It’s not just the office space that needs change – it’s the workload and tasks as well. You may not have the same number of employees at your disposal and the needs of your clients and customers may have changed as well, so some degree of adaptation is more than necessary.

The first thing to do is to reschedule all projects and tasks that are not urgent – this first period should be dedicated to the most important projects and clients and to monitoring how the implemented changes fit. Time will tell if something is not functioning as it should, and then the employers would need to change the strategy again. The idea is to be realistic about the goals but also about a fair distribution of workload on the employees.

Offer psychological support

These events have surprised and shaken up everyone, and although some people seem to be handling things better than others, we are all on the same boat. Circumstances differ from person to person, that much is true but every single person has had one or more days when they felt that the world is closing in on them.

People are suddenly gripping their job positions more tightly, scared of losing their jobs in the midst of such uncertain times and many of them have older parents or grandparents or babies who they want to protect. So, if the chance presents itself, psychological counseling would be more than welcome.

Wrapping up

This period comes with a lot of changes both for the employers and the employees but if the employees are made to feel safe and respected, they will work even harder to push through the crises. The common business goal of both groups is to keep the company running so with the right measurements in place, they can make it so together.

 

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