Returning to the office post corona – keeping your people safe
As many have been working from home as much as possible and juggling all the different situations, it’s now time to start thinking about returning to the office. Whereas before, this was something related to the month of September, when everyone is back from summer holidays and kids are going to school again, now ‘The return’ is about how to work together again in the same building in a 6 ft/1,5mtr economy. It’s up to companies to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, but what are the options for companies? We share our tips to make it work.
Communicate your policy
Before your team resumes work in the office, communicate your company policy very clearly to all involved by informing via our platform, by sending out an email blast, posting it on your intranet and have managers call their team for any additional questions. Explain why certain measures are being made and how you adhere to government regulations; this way people know what to expect and can also point out to other employees when they do not uphold the policy. People want and are entitled to feel safe and need to know that you have their health and safety as the main concern.
Make it a gradual return
When you as a company decide that the employees can work in the same place again, make sure that you make it a gradual transition. Not only to make sure that there’s enough space for people to move while keeping their distance, but also because it’ll be a great adjustment. As many had been working in solitary in the home office, sitting in an office again with other people and all the buzz that goes along with it, might be very tiring. Give people time to adjust. So either get people back per department or alternate days for your different teams in which they can work in the office again.
Limit or even better, remove, sharing options
Hot-desking is still an option but make sure that the desks are properly cleaned and have sanitary tools available to clean surfaces throughout the day. Remove all desktop phones or other equipment – sharing tools right now is not a good idea. For meeting rooms, make clear how many people can share the room. A good idea is to create a simple personalised work pack for each employee – paper, pen, pencil, stapler, perhaps even a phone – anything that you normally have lying around for everyone to use and share. This way, everyone has everything they need and sharing is not necessary.
Even though the company policy might be that people are to be expected to work in the office again, if they prefer the home office, be flexible about it. Make sure that people can work half a week from home, especially when you have teams alternate days, the home office is here to stay and part of the new normal of their work routines. Also, contemplate giving people a small budget to upgrade their home office, if you haven’t done so already, by allowing them to buy laptop stands or new desk chair. Or again, give them the options to choose between a personalised work pack for the office or a budget for the home office. Flexibility should also be considered when thinking about getting people to come to the office and their working hours. Some people who normally use public transportation might feel uncomfortable about it now. Recognize this concern and either have these team members work from home or offer them an alternative; perhaps you company bicycles or cars available? The same goes for office hours, why not offer people who come by bus or train the option to work outside of peak hours when the bus or train will be less busy. Also, when they do come in the office late, understand why and cut them some slack.
Above tips can make for an easy transition to our new normal. We are all in this together and together you can create a work environment that works for everyone.
Creating a healthy work environment post corona is hard. Are you struggling how to manage employee wellbeing post corona? And guarantee their health and safety? We can help. Our platform is build around employee wellbeing and how to improve it. Whether you work from the office or from home – we have a solution.
Let’s hope for a speedy, healthy and happy return for all.