illions of people around the world have been working remotely as a direct consequence of the coronavirus pandemic that hit the world in February 2020. As the world slowly recovers from this worldwide crisis, experts are wondering how the future of work will change and how businesses will gradually adapt to the new social and health necessities.
Employers’ back-to-work plans will vary greatly depending on geography and welcoming your team back to work is likely to certainly happen in waves. Returning to work after COVID-19 needs a plan to maintain safety, manage resources and rebuild your employees’ morale. In this article, we want to share with you a few tips, activities or techniques your business can follow during the comeback period to ensure a healthy, safe and positive working environment.
Rethinking and re-configuring the physical workplaces of your office is probably the most important measure you’ll have to take into consideration to welcome back your employees. Businesses will still need to implement regulations regarding social distancing and team gatherings, and the number of people in each in-person meeting should be limited. Some common areas such as lunch rooms, stations or fitness centers should also be closed or controlled. You can also provide visual markers on floors to distance to guide your team.
Increasing cleaning and disinfection in work areas, common areas and customer areas is probably the other most important measure your business should follow. Also, producing and providing protective equipment - such as face coverings and gloves - and disinfectant to use in these work areas whenever possible will be determinant.
Acknowledging the big effort and the difficult times your team has gone through during this world-wide health crisis, as well as celebrating the successes while working remotely is key to create a comfortable and positive environment. To help boost confidence among workers and keep them motivated, think about promoting achievements, encourage cross-functional collaboration and create a positive and inspiring vision of the future.
Do not host large gatherings or meetings during this period, but instead use video-conference and minimize large gatherings and tours. Invest in new softwares, apps and platforms that will make communication between your team easier, faster and more interactive!
In many cases, ubiquitous testing will be essential to bring back your workforce. Defining a clear routine or health procedure for your employees will create a safe environment and will help you spot any possible employee presenting symptoms of COVID-19 and manage its spread.
Offering work-from-home options for employees who can perform duties remotely, stagger shifts and start times can be a great option to maximize social distance and security between workers. Working from home is not for everyone, but you may be surprised to see how part of your team actually thrive in this new environment. You can also send out a survey to know which are the preferences of each of your employees. They will feel heard and understood and this will improve the working environment.
Coronavirus has definitely changed the way we interact as humans with each other, and, therefore, this will have a great impact also in the way we do business. However, we should keep in mind that in every crisis there is an opportunity and we should look at this situation with a positive and expanding mind. As health measures gradually relax and our lives return to normal, businesses will have new tools to forge new and stronger relationships and create new ways of working and improving.