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Initial Steps for Preparing Your Employees to Return to Work

By January 25, 2022January 6th, 2023No Comments

Trying to figure out which option is ideal for your return-to-work strategy? Given that less than a third of employees (32%) believe they will be extremely likely to return to work in the office, it is critical to create and retain trust as your employees return to work.

Employees’ decisions about returning to work following COVID-19 are influenced by vaccination levels, office sanitization, transportation (both to and from work, but also within the office via common spaces), and personal safety thresholds.

As a result, having clear, well-developed return-to-work standards in place before your workers return to work is critical.

When is your firm ready for a return to work plan?

To begin, conduct a thorough risk assessment for returning to work. According to a recent analysis, your employee’s return to work strategy should be staged and guided by ‘zipcode specific’ epidemic data and state guidelines. Recurrent stay-at-home measures should be anticipated and planned for in your return to work procedure.

To measure readiness, we recommend that your company has addressed the following pillars:

  • Managing employee fears about adoption
  • Providing a healthy and secure working environment
  • Increasing production to satisfy changing demands
  • Recognizing the new challenges that employees confront
  • Rearranging your workspace to create a barrier between you and your coworkers
  • When your staff are ready to return to work, how do you know?

A simple question is one of the easiest methods to determine whether your teams are ready to return to work. An employee return to work survey is about much more than just safety standards. It’s about determining whether employees have faith in their supervisors and feel safe and supported in returning to work following COVID-19.

Your concerns about a return to work procedure should include the following:

  • Employees’ social support and connections: do they trust their coworkers to follow the rules?
  • Employees’ resources and support at work and at home: do they feel safe leaving their children or elderly relatives?
  • Employees’ confidence and clarity: do they feel safe speaking up about their concerns?
  • Do employees feel that their ideas are heard when it comes to innovation and influence?

The office is vital for collaborating with team members and creating relationships, according to 87 percent of employees. However, there is a gap between when executives expect to return (75 percent say July 2021) and when employees expect to return (61 percent by July 2021).

There’s also a split on how many days a week employees should spend in the office, with 68 percent of executives stating at least three days a week but only 55 percent of employees agreeing. Because the needs of different job categories and industries may differ, it’s critical to try to figure them out at an organizational level utilizing a similar survey.

How to set a timeline for your return to work strategy

  • For a successful return to work plan, prioritize the following items on your schedule:
  • Cleaning and sanitization should be communicated clearly (63 percent )
  • Employees are entitled to paid time off if they become ill (61 percent )
  • Guidelines for social distancing are in place (58 percent )
  • Childcare facilities are available (41 percent )
  • Considerations for the employee’s first week back at work
  • Prior to your employees returning to work after COVID-19, your primary priority should be ensuring that the space is physically safe.
  • Concentrate on perfecting physical safety procedures.

For your initial return to work procedure, we suggest the following:

  • To encourage distance, spread apart cubicles, tables, and workstations.
  • Ensure that employees can securely move across the office without congregating at entrances or common spaces.
  • Install visual indicators that remind people to wear masks, wash their hands, and maintain a safe social distance.
  • Consider upgrading your air conditioning system’s filtering system to improve air quality.
  • Consider making optional quick antigen testing available to detect outbreaks before they spread.
  • Staying home when sick, monitoring your health, wearing a mask, social distancing in shared locations, washing your hands regularly, covering your sneezes and coughs, avoiding sharing equipment, and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces are all tips for employees who return to work.
  • Maintain a clear line of communication with your employees on their return to work.

After you’ve identified overarching objectives and obtained employee feedback, you should:

  • Make it clear who will return when and what kind of assistance will be provided.
  • Choose the most appropriate methods for continued contact. For instance, you might want to make a separate group for
  • employees who use email and real-time chat apps to go back to work
  • Make a strategy for assisting leaders and managers.
  • Create a long-term return-to-work strategy in consultation with HR.
  • Considerations for the employee’s first month back at work
  • Make contact with your supervisors.

You’ll need to analyze and maybe adjust your back to work plan within the first month (and even the first several months).

You may need to check in with supervisors in particular, according to some CEOs. Managers who select a remote or hybrid working style are more likely to find it difficult to complete their work outside the office due to the nature of their employment, thus their perspectives should be given special consideration.

Don’t be swayed by well-known businesses. It’s critical not to be misled by what other companies are offering for their employees’ return to work, especially because there hasn’t been much agreement so far. Netflix, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo all endorse a full return to work policy, while certain technological businesses, such as Spotify and Twitter, have made headlines for allowing workers to work from anywhere. In the meantime, Google has set limits on theirs. Examine what your teams require, not what other businesses are doing.

First-quarter considerations for employee return to work

Examine whether your office’s requirements have changed. After a few months have gone since your return to work procedure, you’ll need to double-check whether your office is ready for the reality of your return to work, especially if you chose a hybrid or work-from-home option. Your office should serve as a social anchor, a’schoolhouse’ or a hub for unstructured collaboration, and a’schoolhouse’ or a center for shared information.

To help with this, provide both public (to encourage chance contacts) and private locations for your staff (to promote team bonding). Perhaps provide AI solutions to monitor how space is used and how it might be improved, or to design individualized employee return-to-work plans.

Don’t pass up the chance for employees to return to work

A back to work plan, while requiring weeks of planning and some logistical headaches, also provides several opportunity to fine-tune your organization. According to recent research, you should spend this time to:

  • Make links between individual occupations and the objective of the company.
  • Rethink your employee-welfare practices.
  • Assess the demands of employees using a data-driven approach.
  • To get the best outcomes, combine AI with team collaboration.
  • Encourage teams to be adaptable so they can grow and gain new abilities.
  • Examine the remuneration principles for employees.
  • Insights from real-time labor data
  • Assist them in making more ethical judgments regarding their staff.
  • HR’s impact on the organization should be consolidated.
  • How to build a long-term return-to-work strategy

Setting up a long-term strategy for your employees’ return to work needs time, thought, and constant rethinking on the part of both employers and employees. After you’ve laid the groundwork, you’ll need to create long-term standards for returning to work that are tailored to your company’s specific requirements.

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