Yes, we can hardly believe it either — thanks to the vaccine rollout as it stands right now it does look like we will finally be allowed us to bring employees back to the in the coming months. But how the office looks when we return is something that is going to be evolving.
I don’t want to sound like I am stating the obvious, but one of the first things that you should do is consult your provincial Health and Safety standard guidelines for updates on the latest legislation in your area. As the rules are going to constantly evolve regarding things like required distances and mask wearing it is important to keep up with these sites for the most up to date info.
Aside from ensuring you meet your legal and safety obligations; it will be important to consider the impact to employees that bringing them back to work will have. Let’s be honest, the pandemic has been going on for over a year — and the expectations for many employees have changed. Employers have to be ready for that.
Whether you have employees that feel anxious due to personal safety concerns, or whether they are anxious about giving up the convenience of working from home — there are going to be some questions — and by this stage you are probably already getting those questions from staff.
At Boreala we highly recommend asking your employees how they are feeling. You don’t have to conduct a complicated survey, a simple confidential pulse survey with some well thought through questions can a add so much value as you are planning for the return. We can help you with that — link provided in the video details
In the meantime, here some practical ideas to support your planning:
Sharing as much information as possible, and as early as possible, is a great strategy. When return to work will be? what new rules might be in place? There might be some unknowns too, and you can say that.
Getting the appropriate policies and guidelines in place is crucial. We will discuss this in tomorrows video.
Make sure to communicate with managers first, as managers are the link to employees, so it will be important to ensure that they know the facts and they can share them with their teams.
Communicate frequently, in different forums such as email, virtual meeting, meetings with managers — to ensure that there are multiple opportunities for communication sharing and asking questions.
Consider that comfort levels of employees are going to differ, and find ways to help ease them back into being back in the office with colleagues
Keep the conversation going when you get back to the office. Our work environments are going to be evolving, we will be trying new things — some will work, some won’t so make sure that the communication channels are open.
Check out this article on the subjects of vaccines, masks and COVID testing for employees returning to the office.