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How to Help Employees Return to the Workplace After Lockdown

how to help employees return to the workplace after lockdown

With COVID-19 restrictions easing lots of employers are making plans to re-introduce employees into the workplace. Returning to work after months of uncertainty is sure to create a range of new challenges for both employers and employees. As well as implementing new safety measures, employers will need to take time to assess, monitor and maintain the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff.

In this blog, we're going to take a look at some of the steps you can take to help your employees return to the workplace after lockdown without a hitch!

Understand whether employees feel ready to return to work

Some employees will be keen to return to the workplace, while others might prefer working from home. If there's one thing that lockdown has taught a lot of employers, it's that workers are generally happier and more motivated to work when they're not being weighed down by a long commute, complicated childcare arrangements and other workday pressures. That being said, there are also employees that are eager to get back into a normal work routine and get out of the house!

A good way to gauge the mood of your employees is to send out a survey or questionnaire asking employees whether they'd prefer to work from home, work in the office part time, or return to a full working week in the office. The results might surprise you.

One way you can make the return to work after lockdown easier for your employees is to offer a certain level of flexibility with regards to working location/hours.


Stay in contact with employees

Keeping a good level of communication between management and staff before the return to work will help avoid confusion and panic. Take the time to speak to your team members, ask how they're feeling and see if they have any good ideas to help make the transition back to work run smoothly.

You could set up an portal where employees can submit ideas and suggestions for the workplace without feeling pressured. This would give you a much better idea of your employees expectations and would help to create an office space where everyone feels comfortable and safe.


Don't expect things to be the same as before

As we've mentioned, the pandemic has really opened employers and employees eyes to the potential benefits of remote working. Most people are realising that returning to a fully-operating office from 9-5, 7 days a week is actually not very cost-effective.

Not only is it a huge drain on resources for the business, it also costs employees more in travel, childcare etc. On top of this, the environmental impact of cars on the roads has been greatly reduced, something we'll all come to appreciate in the next few years.

So, while you might be looking at a gradual return to the workplace, it's important to acknowledge some of the benefits that lockdown has unearthed. Be selective about the people returning to the office, prioritise people who cannot or struggle to work at home effectively, and embrace the idea of a different post-lockdown workplace.


Go the extra mile

There's a lot to be said for employers that are willing to go the extra mile as employees return to work. On top of making the workplace COVID-safe, providing the necessary PPE and considering flexible working, why not offer your staff a pay increase that reflects the additional risk and efforts they're taking to return to office work.

Alot of staff, particularly those that have been furloughed for the past year, will really have felt the financial impact of the pandemic. Granted, there are a lot of businesses that have struggled too, but in most cases, businesses have actually saved a lot of money on office bills, wages, and usual outgoings.

Giving your workers an incentive to come back to the office, as well as ensuring their safety, will help ensure that your workforce is not only ready and willing, but also happy to return to work too.

Hopefully this guide will help you welcome your employees back to the workplace over the coming weeks. If you have any science job vacancies that you'd like to fill, get in touch with the HRS team - we specialise in matching talented scientists with roles that make the most of their skills.

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READ MORE: How to Boost Team Engagement While Everyone is Working From Home