Here’s a checklist of the things every employer needs to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition back to the office.
After having worked from home for a prolonged period of time, people across the world are finally heading back to their office spaces. While some may be excited to hang out with their co-workers in person again, others who have settled into a routine of working in their cozy pajamas might not be too keen to return to the office.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to smoothen the transition and prevent any disruptions in employee productivity. We have a few tips for employers here on how to help their employees return to the office after COVID in 2021.
According to the LaSalle Network’s Office Re-Entry Index, 70% of the responding employers have planned to phase employees back into the office gradually instead of all at once. One method to do that in the post-pandemic world is the adoption of the hybrid work model. The hybrid work model refers to a workplace structure in which part of the staff works remotely and the rest in-office. The hybrid approach allows employers to slowly reacclimate employees back to the office space.
Another area where employers can decide to adopt more flexibility could be in workplace attire. While sweatpants and pajamas might not be workplace-appropriate, as an employer, you could choose to relax certain elements of the dress code. Being more flexible could provide employees with a more relaxed environment, which can help them thrive while returning to the office.
Alleviating health anxiety
In a survey conducted by McKinsey, it was revealed that 45% of workers are concerned about their health as they make the transition back to the office. Additionally, 29% of respondents are concerned about getting infected and passing the COVID-19 to unvaccinated or at-risk children. With the threat of COVID being an ongoing concern, you must assure your employees that their health and safety will be a primary concern to the company.
To achieve this, employers must prioritize good hygiene. The office must have ample supplies of disinfectants, hand sanitizers, soap, paper towels and facemasks. Posters about handwashing practices and COVID-19 symptoms to watch out for could also help ease health anxiety.
Supporting employees’ mental health
McKinsey’s survey also showed that almost half of the people heading back to their in-office jobs foresee that it will have a negative impact on their mental health. Incorporating mental wellbeing into the day-to-day environment of the workplace can relieve such concerns. To do so, you can encourage employees to take regular breaks or just simply walk around the office during their workday to help them feel re-energized.
Providing employees access to mental health resources is a great way to make them feel more comfortable in the office. This could include therapists covered by company benefits or even a mental health support group where employees can discuss their feelings. You could also incorporate a mental health leave into the company’s allotted sick days.
The bottom line is that, as the world changes, organizations need to change as well. As an employer, you have devoted time and energy to form a team that perfectly fits the needs of your organization, which you would naturally want to retain. Thus, it is important to re-imagine the post- COVID workplace in such a way that it is mutually beneficial for both you and your employees.
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