Everywhere in the world, businesses are facing the same issue: How to bring back employees into the office and keep everyone safe? Juggling with safety protocols for your team while trying to maintain the business afloat in a post-pandemic world is a challenge no business school has prepared you for.
For companies, the priority is to go back to normal, to the way things used to be before COVID-19 took over. However, there are important considerations that may disrupt your efforts. Firstly, your team isn’t ready to go back to normal. While employees crave for normality and the safety of the old routine, many are also too worried about the virus to ignore the risks. In short, it is essential to create a new normal in the office to protect your employees physical and also mental health in those stressful times.
An H&S assessment
Introducing social-distancing friendly workplaces is the responsibility of every employer. If you want to bring your employees and clients back to your premises, you need to go the extra mile and run a full health and safety audit. Firstly, the audit may highlight existing risks that are not related to the pandemic, but that could be just as devastating. Imagine, for instance, a company that handles highly inflammable products but doesn’t have any fire rated windows and doors. One accident could have dramatic consequences. In other words, an H&S assessment would ensure you can make the necessary changes to keep your staff safe.
Employees find it stressful to head back to the workforce. While many companies can’t maintain their productivity and processes remotely, physical presence is mandatory to keep the business afloat. However, for employees, COVID-19 fear can lead to elevated stress levels. The last thing your team needs is a toxic boss who increases stress and emotional pressure. You need leaders who can help motivate and relax the team, as they are likely to achieve better results. Toxic bosses are, unfortunately, not new. Even though they shouldn’t be part of a company structure, many continue to lead a career based on fear in businesses. But, in a post-COVID world, you want someone who inspires positivity, calm, and empathy to the team.
Friendly breaking rooms
Can you truly eliminate stress from your workplace? The honest answer is no. Wearing masks when facing customers, washing hands throughout the day, these are some of the changes that affect employees’ stress levels. Additionally, many miss the comfort of former routines that are not safe anymore, such as preparing coffee or tea rounds in the office. Therefore, it’s important to remind your team they need to take regular breaks to relax. If you didn’t have a break room before, now is the time to transform the office kitchen with a cosy couch and entertainment pods where people can watch the news, play air hockey, or chat. Keep packs of wipes to encourage employees to maintain the room as germ-free as possible.
In conclusion, there is no denying that companies need to adapt their processes and office layout in a post-lockdown world. However, there is nothing new about having quality breaking rooms, experienced leaders, and updated health and safety audits. The new normal, ultimately, is built on basics we all know and use.