HOW TO EFFECTIVELY SUPPORT A RETURNING WORKFORCE

Our perception of the workplace has transformed this year. While many businesses acknowledge remote working as a temporary measure, many studies suggest employees have a different opinion. The recent findings from the Life after lockdown survey indicated that 72% of PR professionals were willing to continue working from home.

We have reached a stage where businesses nationwide are starting to reintroduce some of their employees back to the office. One major challenge is how business leaders can plan for a COVID-safe and a positive environment for people returning to the workplace. 

Communication is key

A major development in recent months has been the increase in business communications, with many employees stating that they have seen an improvement in the company culture and its method of communicating with other people. Many individuals will be relatively cautious and possibly a little nervous to rejoin the workplace and so business leaders need to ensure these improved communication channels are maintained, enabling the support that returning employees will need. This could be achieved by creating a simple step by step guide of how the business intends to maintain a safe working environment for their employees or offering a discussion portal to allow individuals to raise any particular concerns.

Maintain the new trends

Life After Lockdown survey showed that Microsoft Team was the most popular tool during the lockdown, exceeding other popular platforms like Zoom. Through April, Microsoft Teams recorded 2.7 billion minutes of meetings in a single day. The lockdown period saw a significant transition to remote working and a rise in new remote technology services. Instead of falling back into conventional methods, businesses should be re-assessing what they need and what tools have proven to be productive and should be continued. This is an area that should receive input from the team, after all, it is the employees who have been testing these products during the last few months.

Be agile and adaptive

The transition to working from home has provided new insight into individuals and the workplace. For employees returning to work, flexibility needs to be a vital consideration. Establishing certain times for selected activities should be incorporated into a business plan.

For months, employees have been managing their time and workload. What is vital for people returning to the office is having a manager who works with them, instead of instructing them exactly what to do. By developing a focused culture of continued learning and development, businesses can establish a more resilient structure and secure their talent for the future.

Highlight your company values

Through lockdown, businesses have had time to revisit and reassess their company values and spend time on engaging with their people. As employees begin to return, it is an ideal opportunity to revisit engagement plans and to reinforce company values, mission and culture that existed during the lockdown period.