Back to Work – Are You Ready?
Are You Ready to Return to Work?
As we start transitioning back to work, is your business ready? As we’ve outlined in previous posts, we are not getting back to “normal” any time soon. A recent Gensler report laid out a transitional plan for businesses to consider.
Density is one of the biggest issues businesses will face. Even if the allotment of people per square foot is generous in your area, businesses will have a responsibility to ensure the health of their people. If you are a small business owner, in particular, losing one or two employees to illness can devastate a workforce.
Take it slow. Allow people who CAN work from home, to continue to work from home. For those who need to come into the office, keep distancing and sanitation in mine. Work to creatively schedule people so they are not working closely during the same-day parts.
If you have a business where “Essential” and “Non-Essential” people work together, try and spread the Essential folks around. If there is a COVID outbreak, you don’t want everyone who is unavailable to work to be an Essential employee. You may need to expand offices in order to accommodate people working safely apart from each other. The GOOD news here is, with so many people transitioning to work from home, there will probably be a lot of real estates available to choose from.
Be vigilant, BUT manage stress. Encourage everyone to look out for everyone else’s health. As people return to work, they must know it will not be business as usual. Effective communication of expectations and encouragement will help to keep stress levels down. Many will be happy to return and willing to do whatever needs to be done. Others may not feel the same way. Be available to manage those differences.
Train people. If you need to bring in outsourced training to help people transition to a new hybrid environment of sometimes in, sometimes out of the office working, do it. It’s a different set of management skills required to motivate, maintain, and optimize a hybrid workforce. Make sure management and employees have the tools, both physical and intellectual to be able to work in this type of changing environment.