The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to establish remote work set-ups to comply with stay-at-home orders and prevent employees from contracting the virus. The transition has undoubtedly been a challenging ordeal, with companies facing much uncertainty about how operations will continue.
Now that restrictions and protocols are slowly starting to ease, the big question for company leaders has to do with how they can return to normal operations. The whole situation surrounding the pandemic has created a sense of fear and anxiety among employees, making them reluctant to return to work despite the easing of restrictions. The gravity of the pandemic has made it difficult to go back to the pre-COVID life as usual as fears and concerns continue to linger.
Even though governments have allowed businesses to reopen, employees are still hesitant to return, so much so that a fraction of them are willing to leave their jobs if their workplace does not prioritize sanitation. As such, employers must now look for ways to ease these concerns and create a healthy environment for all their workers.
Listening to Employee Concerns
Navigating the present situation is scary for both employers and employees as there is no certainty with how things will turn out. Fear, anxiety, and doubt are common feelings among those who are set to return to work, so for employers, the first thing you should do is listen to these concerns and encourage an open conversation.
Everyone is reacting to the situation differently, so it is important to learn about how your employees are coping with it. Talking to them will help you understand what you can do to make them feel more comfortable.
Now, you may be thinking: What should you do if you are ready to reopen your business, but your employees are not? There are many ways to handle this situation, and truthfully, there is no one solution to it. However, the one thing you can do is listen and be transparent about what exactly going back to work looks like.
Implementing the “New Normal”
The reality is that the workplace will now have to adjust to the new normal as going back to what was once considered “normal” might no longer be possible. Even though government regulations have eased, you will have to pay extra attention to ensure that your workplace is safe and healthy for your employees.
- Maintaining Cleanliness
Keeping the workplace clean is now more important than ever, so much so that you have to make sure that surfaces are free of germs or deep-seated dirt. Using the right cleaning methods and tools, as well as smart technologies, will be beneficial to ensure that even the smallest spots are clean.Similar to how the importance of washing your hands cannot be stressed enough, you also have to put in extra effort to create a safe workplace for your team. Smart cleaning gadgets can help you get the job done, so consider investing in them to maintain cleanliness within your workspace.
- Implement Social Distancing
Adhering to social distancing measures is crucial to prevent close contact or overcrowding. You will have to make adjustments in the workplace to ensure that employees are working at a comfortable distance from each other. Likewise, it will be best to limit the number of people in a particular area as you want to avoid having too many working in the same place.
- Stagger the population. Consider easing employees back to work by staggering their shifts. Offer alternative schedules and days for in-office attendance. Give your employees flexibility to accommodate their comfort for returning to work.
It is highly understandable if your workers have concerns and apprehensions about going back to work. The pandemic has truly left people shaken with much doubt and fear about getting the virus, so as an employer, you will need to be open to listening to them. That said, if your company cannot sustain a work-from-home set-up for too long, you will need to take proper steps to ensure that your workplace is safe.