As we start the slow transition towards the ‘new normal’ in all aspects of our life, it’s no surprise that returning to work will create some form of trepidation for workers, old or new.
Whether you’re getting ready to welcome back a long-standing employee or beginning the process of searching for a new team member during lockdown, it’s important that businesses consider the steps needed to ensure a successful return to work for all employees.
For some advice on how to begin a successful return to work out of lockdown, why not check out our top tips:
Continuing a ‘work from home’ routine
With many businesses having to embrace remote working during the pandemic, employees will now have become accustomed to working from home, and with suggestions that such working increases productivity, employers could consider implementing regular remote working days for staff, and alternate staff returns to the office on a smaller scale.
Many businesses have recognised the positives of staff working remotely during this period, and experts have suggested that this pandemic will have caused the nationwide change for companies to begin offering additional home working opportunities for their staff.
By providing a remote working plan to employees, not only will this reassure your team that you have considered a safe and structured return to work, but it will also allow for them to maintain a better work-life balance, helping to reduce cases of burnout and promote employee happiness.
Transport to work
Getting back into the throws of working in the office may be a key focus for your business, but particularly for people who utilise public transport as a way to travel to work, this comes with some serious, and albeit justified, worries.
According to recent figures from the Department of Transport, last year nearly 20% of all UK workers travelled to work via public transport, and with this posing its own health risks in today’s climate, it’s important that employers put plans in place to maintain the safety of their staff to and from the workplace, when this all resumes.
If you have a culture of public transport users amongst your team, it may be worth considering inputting staggered working times and minimising staff levels to reduce the initial impact of a wide scale return to work. By allowing some form of flexible working, whether that be opening earlier than the traditional 9am start time, or allowing for later finishes, this flexibility not only works for your staff, but will also mean they are missing peak travel times altogether, and therefore reduce the risks.
From the beginning of the recent pandemic, Government advice to keep on top of hygiene levels, particularly in public locations including offices and shared toilet facilities, has been clear, so it’s vital that these stringent guidelines continue to be met post-lockdown.
Providing antibacterial gel and wipes for equipment should be a priority, and placing signs in significant locations across the office to promote regular hand washing will remind staff and visitors to stay on top of their personal hygiene.
Reviewing a return to work for current employees
The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone in different ways. Whether it’s getting used to disciplining yourself when working from home, or maintaining a positive work-life balance when you’ve been stuck in the house all day, both employers and employees have had their own struggles when dealing with lockdown.
All employees will react differently to a return to the workplace – some may have been waiting to get back to normality, whilst others will have enjoyed the chance to work in their own space with fewer distractions.
To ease the return back to the office, employers should consider having an individual review with all staff to see how they are feeling about the situation, and anything they can do to help them feel happy and confident when things start moving back to normal. By hearing out individual concerns, not only can you promote staff wellbeing, but as a manager or business owner, you can be reassured that you’re doing all you can to monitor your staff’s happiness.
Recruiting new staff members during lockdown
With the job market back in business, if you’re considering taking on someone new ahead of the lockdown lift, from our experience it’s important to amend the recruitment process accordingly to make sure the candidate is right for you, and vice versa.
With face to face interviews still on hold for the foreseeable future, employers should be getting used to making video calls to potential candidates. There’s no doubt that this recruitment method comes with its own drawbacks, but remote interviewing has actually allowed for a slightly more relaxed element to the nerve-wracking process, allowing candidates and interviewers to show off their best selves.
By adopting a slightly more casual approach to interviewing, employers can really see the personality behind the candidate, have a more upfront chat about the role and the business, and, with reduced commuting time, there’s even the chance that you may get to spend a little more time in front of the potential employee to make sure they’re the right fit for the job.
By planning out an effective strategy to return back to the hustle and bustle of ‘normal’ working life, employers can make sure staff feel comfortable with the plans moving forward, and offer reassurance to those that need it.
For businesses looking to expand their team ahead of the return to normality, it’s also important that they are prepared to answer candidates’ questions relating to safety within the office environment. If you’re looking to recruit a new team member or require some expert advice surrounding remote interviewing, please get in touch by phone on 0121 796 2474, or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.