Going Back to Work: Take the Right Steps
Adapt your work environment and processes in a way that supports your employee base.
While essential businesses have kept their onsite operations, many were forced to introduce remote work for their teams. Going back to work is becoming possible again, but won’t be a straightforward process. Employers need a balanced approach to ensure an effective transition and to keep employee engagement and productivity high.
Adapt your work environment
Workplace safety and comfort take more than just common protective measures, experts say. Employers have different approaches when adapting to the new situation.
Some organizations have already limited the use of recreational rooms on their premises. Others have installed physical barriers between coworkers who sit close to each other.
Depending on the industry and the specific mix of remote workers and staff on the ground, the need for office space might decrease. In this case, reconsider your office layout.
As a company’s culture has a strong influence on the team, this should also be factored in when adapting the work environment. “I’m a great believer in the physical space being very much a physical manifestation of the culture of an organization,” Patrick Plant, real estate partner at law firm Linklaters, told CNBC.
Create flexible work routines
Physical distance is one of the essential requirements today, and it can be handled with flexible work organization.
Some employers have introduced policies which reduce the number of coworkers gathered at the same time. “Office-based shifts only on certain days of the week” are a popular option too, according to business publication Quartz.
A more flexible work schedule can help commuters avoid rush hours in public transport where distancing is also essential.
Provide consistent employee care
If your organization has already adapted to a remote work structure, the option to choose between remote and office work will bring high psychological comfort to your employees. IBM is one of the companies that has provided this freedom of choice to 95% of its staff.
Transparent and honest communication should be an ongoing process. “Businesses should be as open as possible about their protocols […] to make sure everyone has the information they need,” says Lucia Mullen, a senior analyst at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
In addition, reassure workers that they can request sick leave or take time to work remotely without any financial or professional repercussions.