While the WHO is warning countries to take their return to economic ‘normality’ slowly, one thing is certain, our economy cannot sustain lockdown for too long.
Whether there is a vaccine available or not, we need to begin our return to work to keep our economy alive. Now is the time to start thinking about your post-lockdown processes and people management – especially as restrictions are easing within weeks (if not days), depending on your state.
While some employees might be biting at the bit to have their lives return to a semblance of normality, many will be very anxious and uncertain as restrictions start to ease. Considering the circumstances, this is to be expected.
Planning for the future
COVID-19 has changed how we live, shop and work. It could also be your chance to re-image your business moving forward. Could it be an opportunity to create more innovative office spaces, review your health and wellness standards, or create flexible work options to facilitate a safe return to work?
A taste for working from home
For many businesses, allowing staff to work from home was never on their radar, until they had no choice. While the first few weeks may have been tough, it’s given businesses and employees an opportunity to experience working from home and whether it works for them.
Many workers will have enjoyed the freedom and flexibility that comes with working from home. That means employers might see a rise in requests to work from home once things get back into full swing.
A decrease in in-person meetings
We’ve all heard the grumbles about how much time is spent in meetings. Working from home has provided many people with respite from the hustle of daily work. For others, time in lockdown has given businesses the unexpected experience of successfully holding meetings via online platforms across state lines and globally. With this flexibility comes an opportunity for huge cost savings as travel is dramatically reduced. It won’t be surprising to see this trend continue well into the future.
Concerns over health and safety
Many employees may feel reluctant to return to work or to carry out certain duties for fear of exposure to COVID-19. Exposure poses a serious risk for you as an employer. We recommend you carry out an objective risk assessment of your workplace environment to identify any hazards.
Once that’s completed, you’ll need to reassure employees that you take their health and safety seriously. You can do this by communicating the results of your risk assessment and the measures you have taken to lessen or mitigate the risk.
Education & Training
As you revisit what working will look like with restrictions easing, think about the impact of the changes you are making. Employees and managers may need refresher training or education that addresses what has changed as everyone starts to transition back to working on-site or a mixture of working on-site and at-home.
We’ve already seen restrictions start to ease with students in some states starting to transition back to school and the ability to visit friends and family returning. Businesses won’t be too far behind them. It’s wise to ensure you are prepared, so start planning now. If you’re unsure of where to start or would like to walk through your options before putting your plans into place, contact us for assistance. We’re here to help.