Many of us have been working from home or remotely for the past 8 months or more. This was brand new, and many people struggled to get used to this big change. While some workers enjoyed the change and the flexibility it provided, others couldn’t wait for their return to work. Of course, a return to work should not be rushed and should always be carried out in a safe and sensible manner.
If you want to ensure a safe return to work for your team, there are a few things you need to ensure before calling them back in. Getting your team back into work and working productively, to the best of their abilities is one thing – but making sure they are safe and healthy as they do so is another. Taking precautions and ensuring you do everything possible to keep your team healthy is a must. Below, we’ll go through what you should know so you can get this right.
Should You Bring Your Team Back Into Work?
The advice as it stands says to allow anybody who can work effectively from home to do so. It may be more beneficial for you to provide more software/equipment for your employees working from home to make things easier for them, rather than bringing them back into work. Working from home can be tough, but coming back into work too early could cause other problems. Plus, providing you’re getting what you need to get done, done, there shouldn’t be a problem if your team is still working from home. Trying to help those who need more support when working from home is key.
Talking to your staff as early as possible about returning to the workplace is a good idea – you don’t want to spring this on them and cause panic, and they should feel like they have a chance to talk to you about any issues that may crop up. Asking for their views, any worries, and anything else they’d like to say on the matter can show them that you care and that you’re taking their wants and needs into account. Make sure you discuss the following with them:
- When they should expect to return to the workplace
- Whether their return will be part of full time
- How health and safety is being managed
- How staff will travel to and from work
- Any planned adjustments to the workplace
- If there may be a phased return
- Whether you’ll have floor marketing and other things in place to ensure safety
Making The Workplace Safe
If it’s time for your team to come back into the workplace, it’s important to make it as safe as possible before they do so. Performing a risk assessment will ensure you can identify what could cause harm to your team and then take reasonable steps to prevent it.
While employees start returning to the office, they all need to be aware of fevers, flus and masks. ComRes provides safety technology from Alibi Security that scans for facemasks and temperature readings to control who is safe to come in the work space. This can ensure that you’re not putting other team members at risk.
Changing Employment Contracts
If there are going to be changes put into place that will affect the terms of a contract, the employer must consult with the employee first. Bear in mind that even if changes aren’t being made to employment contracts, your team may still feel anxious about returning to the workplace. Encouraging your team to talk about any concerns they have and trying to resolve them together is a good idea. Team members may be worried about catching the virus, worried about finding care for their children, or may have concern for somebody they are living with who they need to take special steps to protect. You may want to consider leaving some staff working from home or on furlough while other things are put into place to ensure everybody can work safely and happily.
Take Your Team’s Concerns Seriously
If a member of staff raises an issue or concern with you, make sure it is taken seriously. People deal with things like this differently and you shouldn’t make them feel stupid or give them an ultimatum. The last thing you want is for your team to return to work and struggle because they are anxious. Protecting your team’s mental and physical wellbeing should be one of your top priorities during this time.