It’s a strange time we find ourselves in and no one could have fully prepared for what we are experiencing. COVID-19 has affected everyone globally, and we are having to quickly adapt our work and home life to conform to guidelines coming from sources like CDC, NHS and WHO and keep us all safe.
You have most likely implemented changes in your workplace already and whether staff are working remotely or have adapted to follow social distancing rules at the office, there are still kinks that need to be worked out and every day brings new challenges.
Self-isolation is a phrase that’s becoming more common—something most of us may have never even heard of before. Many team members now have to self-isolate, for a variety of reasons, which can put added strain to your organization.
However, it can also be a strain on those who are having to self-isolate themselves and returning to work can be equally arduous for the individual. How can you help them return to work in the office?
How Might a Safe Return to the Office Even Look?
It is important to not only look after their health but the health of your entire workforce. Vulnerable team members should be considered with additional scrutiny. If you are still operating from your building and an employee wishes to return, you need to consider if they have followed the rules for self-isolation if they or a member of their household have shown symptoms.
If your employee is returning to your office building or any other form of premises, they should be provided with the necessary PPE. They should also be briefed about any new rules, guidelines or procedures before they enter the building. The office will likely require a commercial clean to ensure that any instances of the virus are destroyed.
It’s critical you’re flexible and accommodating to team members returning to work. Childcare may be a challenge, or caring for others. Work with them to create the best shift pattern for everybody and modify hours if needed.
Related: According to the latest guidelines from the CDC, office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take action today to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients.
Providing Emotional Support
The pandemic has evoked emotions in many of us we didn’t know possible. Anxiety, stress, anger and grief are more common and won’t simply go away.
Consider providing professional support for those who are interested. In addition, some ideas to emotionally care for your team members include:
- Allowing employees to complete tasks they agree to and know they can finish.
- Remove non-essential tasks so employees can focus on what is urgent and matters most.
Provide the Technology Necessary to Work Anywhere
Your team members might be transitioning from self-isolation to working from home, which may seem easy but can feel a bit confusing and overwhelming. If the team isn’t used to working from home, what was once an easy passing question or quick morning brief can quickly become difficult to communicate.
If you haven’t already implemented a cloud HR system in your workplace, this is a good time to do so. Using cloud-based systems, such as those from Cezanne HR, ensures that when someone does return to work, they can easily see an overview of all projects. You reduce the risk of any tasks being duplicated or missed and improve overall team productivity.
If team members are working from home, consider slowly easing back into office life at a pace that fits your organization best. Take overall workforce safety and emotional support into account when making plans, and be sure to share your plans with employees to keep them informed.
To see how today's environment is shaping the employee experience, download our research paper, The Psychological Toll of COVID-19 on the Workforce.