As the government is contemplating on reopening the offices slowly, there are numerous questions that will cross the mind of an employer as well as the employee. Reopening the workplace is not going to be easy as there are many new rules and regulations that should be put into place before considering to bring back the employees. Needless to say, the safety and health of the employees are going to be the priority of all the companies. They should ensure if they fulfil every criterion provided by the government to reopen. Such as, the workplace should have enough space to ensure social distancing, commute should not be an issue, and protocols must be applied to ensure the employees’ well-being.
Once the employees have decided of going back to the office after Covid-19, the one thing that is given is that the workplace won’t look the same, and that’s fine. Organizations should not be concentrating on making things how they were before. Rather, they should make new rules and changes to ensure that the employee fit in perfectly with the new normal. Given are five easy ways through which employees can be brought back to the workplace without hampering their safety.
Detailed Work Schedule-
The biggest and most common mistake an employer can make is bringing the employees back to the office without devising a proper plan or schedule. Whether they admit it or not, most of the workers have anxieties and concerns about returning back to work. Companies can relax the employees by giving them a detailed-work plan, where it should be made sure that not all employees are called back to the office together. The plan can also consist of the new measures the company has taken to ensure the employees’ safety. Calling the employees back to the workplace is going to be a multi-step process for every company, where their health is going to be the priority.
It is imperative for the seniors to communicate new rules and regulations frequently, both written and verbally through various mediums. The companies can have virtual conferences, ask employees are they feeling comfortable and safe, reminding them to follow the new protocols in place. Rather than spring on the employees suddenly, the employers should make sure they inform them well in advance that they are planning to reopen their office. This will give the employees time to prepare themselves mentally and physically for going back to the routine pre-pandemic.
Plan Alternate Work Schedule-
It is important to keep in mind that everyone was isolated and under quarantine for a long time. Asking them all to come together might create awkwardness and anxiety for a lot of employees. Additionally, the social distancing rule will get abrupt if the office is not spacious enough. Therefore, companies should create a plan where they divide the employees into two or more groups according to their field of work and ask them to come to the office on alternate days. This will ensure that the employees are not overwhelmed with a crowded environment and social distancing will also be in place.
Maintain Hygiene & Safety-
The company should make the office safe to work with proper Covid-19 precautions. Sanitizers should be placed at every desk, near every door, and wherever there is the possibility of touching and transmitting the virus. Wearing the mask should be made compulsory and those not wearing it or not following the rules should be fined so that they take it seriously and don’t put others in danger.
Coping with the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy on everyone. Many people still are not ready to step out of their houses as they fear of contracting the virus. Thus, if companies are calling the employees back to the office, they have to show sympathy and trust. A support group can be created for employee engagement, where everyone can share their feelings and anxieties. If the employees feel that their mental health is being given priority, they would feel much more at ease and comfortable to keep working. Work-flexibility should also be an option, as there are going to be times when employees won’t feel like they are in their right mind to attend the office. Such situations should be normalized now.
To emphasize the commitment and make the employees feel that their health and safety is important, the above measures should be followed religiously. Anyone who is feeling under the weather should be sent home and should be allowed to work remotely from home till they feel fine. The organizations have a moral obligation to ensure that their employees’ mental and physical health is not taken for granted. They have to continuously promote hygiene, cleanliness, devise mental health programs to increase employee engagement and safety.