Dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19 is going to be the biggest challenge for businesses once the pandemic is over. As things get back to normal, regions will slowly start opening up and the workforce will have to return back to their workplaces. It will be a tough grind to ensure employee safety while keeping the regular work operations going.
However, it is going to be the responsibility of the management, to navigate its workforce through such unprecedented disruptions. Managers, most importantly, will need to ascertain how to get back to the long lost workflow of the company. They will also need to quickly come up with an approach to deal with post pandemic work style in such a way that the needs of the business can be supported throughout the return to work process.
You might not be looking to bring your workforce back right now, but you will have to in the near future, once things get closer to normal. Whenever that is going to be, you would require a specific return to work plan, which emphasizes on employee safety, aids in rebuilding the work morale, and keeps check on the comfort levels of your team members.
Shared here are some proactive strategies to make your return to work after COVID-19 easier and help you settle up with the “new normal” workflow:
5 Strategies to return to work
1. Plan for today and the coming future!
In order to deal with the present COVID-19 crisis and to ensure the powerful future of work, businesses must learn from lessons the pandemic has taught everyone. They need to ensure they constantly will keep working on the short-term and long-term workplace strategies and stay prepared for the future (to navigate through any other crisis).
It is absolutely critical for the work owners to realize how this global crisis has affected the work culture and the way businesses will function not just in the present but also in the future. They need to plan and prepare their workplace accordingly.
2. Ensure workplace safety
Even when things start opening up, and your workforce will be ready to return to work, there is a high probability that your workplace might not be ready for the same office life as before because of being nonfunctional for a long duration.
To make sure that this does not happen, you should focus on making the workplace safe before resuming the work by regular sanitation of every nook and corner of the premises. As per the WHO guidelines, organizations are advised to ensure cleanliness and hygiene at the work stations. Surfaces like desks, floors, tables, walls and objects like desktops, keyboards must be wiped with disinfectant on a regular basis.
Other than that, be careful while holding meetings and events where you have to gather a group of people in a confined place. It is advisable to switch to virtual team collaboration tools wherever possible.
3. Establish Clear Communication Guidelines
It is crucial to make communication a priority if you plan to return to work. It would help you explain to your employees how your company plans to resume the operational processes for the business.
To achieve this, explain to them your latest HR policies and all the new organizational changes in the rules. Be very clear in explaining to them about your physical distancing policies and how they can be used to prevent the workforce from the infections. Make company wide announcements regarding essential topics like safety protections, timetables regarding return-to-work and what is the company doing to support the employees.
It is also advisable to look out for the latest communication technologies to provide training to your employees regarding new protocols on safety and virus prevention.
4. make physical distancing a priority
It is essential to maintain physical distance from each other even after returning to the work. Make sure you ask your employees to greet one another without any sort of physical contact. Practice the six-feet rule (Keep a distance of around two to three arm’s length) in the office and encourage your workforce to follow the same regularly.
Other than this, reconsidering your workplace seating arrangement can help you maintain proper physical distancing among your employees.
You can also add partitions between two seats in order to create a physical barrier between two employees so that distancing can be followed.
5. opt for virtual collaboration
Virtual collaborations help you maintain physical distance even if you are back to the office. Instead of reaching out to each other, you can simply use a collaboration tool to communicate and do various tasks.
To avoid physical proximity in the workplace you can opt for team collaboration tools for keeping your team together even when working from the same building.
Make sure that you switch from in-person discussions to virtual meetings or any other alternative possible whenever it is required. There are virtually countless tools available in the market that can help you in virtual collaboration. You can pick the one that suits your requirements and budget and make your return-to-work smooth and safe!
At some point of time in the near future, we all will have to return to work. When that happens, you need to ensure that you are already well prepared to deal with all the changes caused due to the pandemic.
Make sure that you gather maximum information required to understand the process of transitioning your employees back to the office. The aforementioned strategies will help you in creating a great return-to-work plan, which will demonstrate to your employees that their health and well being is important to you and that you are willing to do everything you can to accommodate their needs and ensure a smooth return to work.
About the Author: Vartika Kashyap is the CMO at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2018. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.