What a crazy year 2020 has been so far. Nobody expected to spend months working from home, and then to reintegrate into the office slowly – all while still facing a pandemic. At every level of your company, from the front desk to the CEO, people are facing stress and uncertainty.
In this environment, it can be challenging to figure out how to help employees feel safe and comfortable returning to the office. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take now to create a successful, stress-free, and safe return to the office.
Put Safety First
Of course, the top priority during this health crisis is ensuring that employees and customers stay safe and healthy. In an office environment, this might mean rearranging desks to create social distancing or placing additional barriers (plexiglass or typical cubicle furniture) between workspaces.
It may be an odd sight for returning employees, but it will show that you put their health first. People will adjust to working in different conditions, and many will be relieved with the new health precautions. As an added benefit, distancing and additional barriers may keep your employees from getting sick from a variety of causes, improving productivity and morale.
Begin With Mission-Critical Staff
One thing that’s been a best practice throughout the COVID-19 crisis is incremental reopening. You don’t want to bring your entire staff back onsite in a single day or week. Instead, focus on deciding who really needs to be present.
A lot of employees enjoy working from home and will be happy to do so for a few more weeks or months if need be. In the meantime, you can bring back a portion of your staff and start to test how the cleaning and distancing protocols work.
Determining who is most important may not be easy, but working with the leadership team should help you find an answer. Here are a few questions you could ask yourself to help make things clearer:
- Who needs onsite tools and can’t work as effectively without them?
- Where is productivity struggling with remote work?
Focus on those employees first, and then gradually transition to 100% onsite work.
Be Sensitive to Employees’ Needs
As you bring everyone back, you may feel pressure to return to “business as usual” right away. The reality is, employees and leaders need time to transition back to onsite work. Be mindful of the challenges everyone is facing and help them adjust if you can.
For instance, some employees may have caregiving obligations that make working in the office challenging until traditional childcare centers have reopened. Be sensitive to these obstacles and think of ways you can offer help.
You also might have additional responsibilities for employees due to COVID-19, including cleaning workstations more often, different rules in the break room, and so on. Give people time to adjust without expecting 100% productivity and compliance right away.
Great leadership isn’t just about giving orders, it’s about empathy and leading by example. Show people that you care!
We’re Here to Welcome You Back to Business
At U.S. Tech Solutions, we’re here to help you transition your office back to work. Whether you’re rehiring furloughed staff or updating payroll, we have the technology you need to be successful.
A lot of companies are going to need extra staffing, either due to furloughs or because their business is expanding. Now is the time to get top talent, as COVID-19 has caused many people who wouldn’t typically be looking for work to be on the hunt for a new job.
Interested in how we can help? Contact us today!