As the worldwide pandemic is continuing, some parts of Australia and the world are starting to ease restrictions in order to limit the economic impact. In the coming weeks, we expect to see some changes and a possible return to near normal working conditions. Now is the time to start thinking about what the business and their leaders can do to ensure a smooth return to almost normal activity and keep employees engaged and focused.
The following is a list of areas to think about to ensure your employees are focused, safe and engaged when returning to work:
- Staff Engagement: With social restrictions and employees working from home for the past 4-5 weeks – employee motivation might be low. Leaders can help employees to refocus by meeting with them and discussing new goals and objectives.
- Equipment: Business should ensure that the workstation is functional and safe again, that everything has been brought back into the office, and that employees have everything they need to perform their job.
- Clear Future: Employees might still feel unsure about their jobs’ safety, or the direction of the business post-Covid-19. As a business, it is important to re-align goals by reflecting on what has happened in the last few months and plan where the business should be at the end of the financial year and beyond. This should be clearly communicated to all employees to ensure transparency and avoid any unnecessary stress and worry about job uncertainty or about the future of the business.
- Re-create the social bond: Business should create opportunities for employees to gather again, not just for meetings, but for enjoyable occasions to re-create the social bond. Perhaps having lunch together or afternoon tea to ‘celebrate’ the return to the office can help employees reconnect.
- Safety must remain: Covid-19 is still around, and safety precautions should remain. It looks like the virus will be around for a long time if not forever. Therefore, businesses and employees still need to remain vigilant. Be sure to follow guidelines from the Department of Health.
- Mental health: Even if most employees return to work, a business should keep monitoring employees’ mental health. Speak to them, offer EAP if not already done. Share links to external resources such as Headspace, Beyond Blue, Head to Health with your employees. Even though we are about to return to almost normal working and living conditions, people could still be suffering from the effect of social isolation, financial impact, family members being sick, etc, so people’s mental health is still fragile, and employees still need support.
- Reflect on the positives. What positive initiatives can we implement moving forward? Can we implement more working from home practices, more online meeting, less travel? All these changes can improve employee work-life balance and should be made in consultation with employees where possible to lift morale and give employees a sense of control.
- Compliance: Even during these times, we must abide by laws. A business should ensure they are compliant with legislation as a lot of things have changed and new laws have been implemented. Check with us if you are unsure of your obligations.
If you are confused about your obligation around COVID-19 as an employer, then please book a 15 min free chat with one of our HR Consultants at www.keyba.com.au or call us at 1300 4 ADVICE
Australia is getting ready for a return to almost normal conditions following the Covid-19 outbreak. But are you and your employees ready to return to the office? Here is a checklist to ensure you are prepared before employees return: