How do I manage my company’s return to work?
May 11, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses all around the country. Extreme regulations brought in to help fight the outbreak have led to unprecedented disruption and most employers will never have experienced a crisis quite as COVID-19. There is currently no formal end to the government’s restrictions, which includes social distancing measures and travel bans. However, other European countries such as Spain and Germany are starting to ease COVID-19 measures and it is hoped that the UK will be able to follow suit in a few weeks.

While many businesses will welcome the relaxation of government restrictions, a return to work must be well-managed to protect your employees and avoid unnecessary disruption to your business. Below, is a useful guide to help you manage your company’s return to work once the COVID-19 regulations start easing.

Manage employee numbers

The return to normal working life will be gradual and businesses must continue to follow social distancing measures once employees are brought back into the workplace. Failing to take proper safety precautions may have severe consequences and lead to further disruption to your business. With this in mind, employers must develop efficient strategies to manage the volume of staff coming into the workplace. One simple solution is to invest in an online workplace management system that will allow you to control your building density and organise your workforce more efficiently. SEDES is an innovative workplace management platform that can control and manage the volume of employees entering your buildings. With this system, employees are able to book their own workstation online before they arrive at work. Having this software offers several advantages including streamlining business operations, safeguarding your team from the risk of infection, and helping you maintain optimal occupancy levels.

Continue remote working

It is anticipated that many businesses will continue remote working for several months after the COVID-19 regulations have been lifted, especially in areas that are considered high-risk. Allowing certain employees to remain working remotely will help you control the volume of people in your workplace and reduce the risk of infections. Maintaining remote working also offers financial benefits as your office overheads will be significantly reduced. According to Forbes, a remote workforce can also improve productivity, boost employee wellbeing, and give you access to a wider talent pool when it comes to hiring. Keep in mind that you must remain connected to remote workers and communicate with employees working from home regularly using communication software such as Skype and Slack.

Rebuild office morale

As mentioned, it is unlikely that employers and their staff have ever faced a crisis as severe as COVID-19. After several weeks of working from home, it is natural for staff to feel anxious about the prospect of returning to work. A recent survey found that 41% of employees feel afraid to go back to work because of the risk of exposure. As an employer, you must support your staff and reassure them of the safety measures you have put in place to protect their health and wellbeing. Create a detailed reintroduction programme that involves training your employees on any new policies and procedures in place. Focus on creating a work culture that is inclusive and make sure every team member feels that they are returning to a supportive environment. This will reduce any anxiety and help your team reintegrate back into working life.

Summary

Changes to the current COVID-19 restrictions are likely to be gradual and we don’t currently know what steps will be taken to relax the lockdown measures. Businesses must take the time to plan for their return to work to ensure the safety of their workforce and minimise any further disruption to their organisation. Different businesses will need to take various approaches once the COVID-19 measures start to be lifted. You can stay up to date on the most recent developments by checking the CIPD website and the latest government advice.