Back to the Office: How You Should Manage the Return to Work After the Lockdown

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Most governments around the world have started hinting about re-opening their countries and economies. Some have gone a step ahead by easing some lockdown measures so that businesses and organizations may start functioning like they were in the past.

The message remains simple in most developed countries. The majority of people are being urged to work from home, avoid traveling and sitting in public spaces, and to exercise as much as possible so long as physical distancing measures are observed.

As governments prepare to open up their economies, you should start preparing how you’ll return to work after the lockdown. Until medical researchers and scientists develop a vaccine to prevent this dangerous disease from spreading and killing people, things will not be the same in the workplace.

Therefore, before allowing your employees to go back to work, you have to ensure that it is safe to do so. Your business will probably need people to return to the workplace to start generating substantial revenue. Before you go back to work with your employees, you need to consider the risks and uncertainty. And the best way to manage them.

How to start returning to work

According to CircleCare Employee Wellness App, one of the most important you must do is ensure that your business fully addresses the risks of coronavirus disease. You need to identify sensible measures that will help you control the risks on your premises and communicate with your employees. A risk assessment helps you figure out whether you’ve done everything you could do to provide a safe working environment for you and your employees. Here are some of the key points that you should consider:

  • Carry out the risk assessment of COVID-19 and share the results with your employees, suppliers, clients and other stakeholders
  • You have handwashing, cleaning and hygiene procedures that adhere to local health authority guidance
  • You have taken reasonable steps to ensure that your employees work from home comfortably
  • You have taken reasonable steps to ensure that social distancing is maintained in the workplace
  • You have done everything you can to minimize the risk of transmission in the workplace
  • Educate your employees on health and nutritional habits and encourage them to improve their immune system

According to Forrester analysts, you shouldn’t rush to open up your business because it will have long-term implications on your ability to attract and retain talent. People tend to remember negative things more than positive things. And they won’t forget if you expose them.

return-back-to-work

Since the stakes are high and your employees are still experimenting remote working, transitioning back to the office won’t be an easy thing for you. To make the transition smoother, here are a few tips for you.

1.      Create new rules for the office

Most business activities such as attending events and meetings have been disrupted by the pandemic. And this will probably reflect in the workplace. You’ll need to increase the distance between workspaces or stations. And to adopt high standards of hygiene by, for instance, reminding your employees and clients to wash their hands in the workplace and providing sanitizers and protective equipment.

As assignment help reports, you can also implement temperature checks for visitors entering the business premises. This will make it easier for you to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace. Thanks to the rapid advancement of technology, you can quickly screen the temperature of several people at a time using hand detection cameras.

Social events will definitely get affected because the number of staff attending them will be limited. In-person visits will be restricted. Thanks to Zoom or Teams, you can continue holding conversations with your employees and clients at any time.

2.      Bring back essential staff only

As you prepare to open up your business, the last thing you should do is bring back all your employees in one go. You should bring people back in shifts to test your new rules and procedures. Therefore, you need to figure out the essential roles in your business and plan accordingly to reduce the risk of transmission.

You can bring back the facilities teams followed by the IT team. IT workers might be expected to return to their places of work to get them ready by setting up desks and sanitizing them. Consider building a sanitation area near the workplace to ensure that every device gets cleaned properly before being brought in.

Since most businesses today rely on technology to perform their operations, the IT team will play a huge role in maintaining hygiene standards in the workplace. And working closely with the facilities team.

You can establish a gradual returning process by reversing the order in which you sent your employees to work from home. Ensuring that your employees work in shifts will play a huge role in maintaining social-distancing policies.

3.      Prepare for some employees to work from home

Some employees are vulnerable to others. Some have underlying medical conditions or live with people who are at risk. Others have already adapted to working from home. Either way, some of your employees will not be returning to the workplace anytime soon. Therefore, you need to ensure that the technology infrastructure remains in place to support them.

Since medical experts are uncertain about the timeline of this pandemic, you should strengthen the telecommuting protocols to be well prepared for an increase in the number of infections. Having a flexible work style in place will help you switch back to working from home easily in case things don’t work out.

Working from home

This switch is extremely important now and in the distant future especially when disasters hit. Remote working has helped lots of businesses to continue operating. And this is better than a temporary closure. Do not be in a hurry to say goodbye to video conferencing and virtual desktops. Now is the time to accelerate the adoption of remote employee monitoring apps, cloud solutions, and high-performance networks.

4.      Continue communicating with your teams

If your team has been working remotely, you’ve probably been encouraging your team to communicate to keep them engaged. As you prepare to return to work, you should continue doing so. You’ll need to level the playing field to ensure that those who are at the office and remotely get things done on time. You might need more social tools like CircleCare employee engagement app to connect the employees who’ll be getting back to the office and those who are working remotely.

According to college paper writing services, you need to give your employees ample time to adjust to the office environment. Small things like commuting, working closely with colleagues, or setting up the office will require some adjustment. Developing a reorientation process and setting face to face meetings to check on your employees will be crucial.

5.      Digital hygiene is critical

Apart from physical sanitation, you’ll need to ramp up your digital hygiene. After weeks of remote work, it’s critical to clean up the digital mess. Let’s face it. You don’t know the things that made their way into your employees’ devices during this time. They’ve probably downloaded software, games, and other stuff to keep them entertained while they aren’t working.

These devices will be connected to your business’s corporate network. Therefore, you need to ensure that your devices. are clean and free of viruses. Digital hygiene is just as important as physical hygiene. Security in the digital space will always be an issue for organizations relying on technology.

6.      Support your staff

A number of your employees won’t be coming back to the office for several reasons. Therefore, do not force everyone to show up to work. Everyone is afraid of being exposed to this deadly virus. As a leader, you should prioritize the physical and mental health of your employees and support them in any way you can.

You don’t want to be remembered as the bad boss who forced employees to come back to work during a health crisis. Give your employees space to make their own decisions. Prepare the workplace for those who are ready to go back to the office. And support those who choose to work from home.

Conclusion

For your business to recover, you’ll need to monitor the effectiveness of your return to work program so that it remains effective and supports those who’ll choose to work from home. This program will restore confidence in the business.

Review all the lessons you’ve learned from working remotely. And focus on developing infrastructure that will make it easier for employees to continue working remotely in case things don’t work out. At the moment, hygiene is everything. Ensure that your employees observe the guidelines outlined by the local health authorities to avoid transmission and infection in the workplace. By using these tips, your business will quickly bounce back. And everyone will be happy in the end.

If you are in HR or you are a wellness champion at your workplace and you would like to find out how CircleCare Corporate Wellness App can help your team to health to the next level during this pandemic, contact us now.

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Shaon Shahnewaz leads the digital marketing team at M2SYS Technology and an occasional blogger. He is passionate about writing various government and enterprise biometric identity management technology adoption related topics and the changes it brings on the general people’s lives.

Shaon Shahnewaz

Marketing Team Lead at CircleCare - Corporate Wellness App
Team Lead - Digital Marketing at M2SYS Technology
Bangladesh
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Shaon Shahnewaz