With new vaccinations and a sense of normalcy on the horizon, it is time to return to work after months of quarantine. COVID-19 is a major disrupter, and it has shaken everyone on a personal and professional level. It is also making many people wary about returning to the office. Anxiety is high, and you are probably concerned about the effects it will have on your business. However, strategies can help your employees ease back into work feeling confident and safe.
4 Ways to Help Your Employees Feel Safe Returning to the Office
Update the Workplace
As you reopen your business, space modifications will undoubtedly be a priority. You will need to make your workspace as pandemic-friendly as possible. Consider updating sanitation procedures, cleaning out air vents, adding no-touch technology, temperature checks, and visual hand sanitation reminders. This return to work is also a great time to retrofit your current space with the addition of divider panels or considering a reconfiguration to promote separation. Most importantly, make sure your employees know about the steps you are taking to protect their health.
During the first few months of reopening, schedule weekly one-on-one meetings with your employees. Ask them how they feel and encourage them to be open with you regarding likes, dislikes and improvement areas. These meetings help your employees feel as though they have a voice. You get inside information regarding health and safety issues that you might otherwise overlook.
Be Transparent Regarding Legal Rights
Transparency allows your team to understand their rights. Being open with your employees eases their fears and gives them a say if they see something under manipulation. Give your employees copies of the OSH Act, which states that employees can refuse to work if they have reason to believe they are in danger or feel threatened. Legal documentation helps your employees feel secure and gives them a sense of control over their situation.
It might be difficult considering the circumstances, but gratitude is essential during the pandemic. You can increase trust when your employees feel appreciated and valued, especially when they risk their health to work for you. Recognize that they are returning to support your business during times of uncertainty will help your employees feel less anxious. Furthermore, provide your team with resources to optimize their safety and comfort. Taking these measures will help your employees know that you value their service.
The reality is that it is time for employees to return to work. However, do not reopen thinking that everyone feels safe and ready to jump back in. Society is shifting, and what was once standard procedure may not help employees feel safe anymore. It is critical that you provide your employees a work environment that helps them feel secure.
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