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Strategies for Supporting Employees Returning to the Office

Strategies for Supporting Employees Returning to the Office

Medical safety guidelines for COVID-19 and its latest variant, Omicron, seem to change daily. This puts even more of a burden on employers to develop strategies for supporting employees returning to the office. Here, we’ll highlight some of the major ones.

Remember that it’s important to tailor each strategy to your work environment while considering your employees’ unique needs.

Communicate Your Guidelines

The best strategy for supporting employees returning to the office is to come to the table with a comprehensive plan that includes a mask policy, social distancing guidelines, and access to hand sanitizers and other necessary products.

Your plan should account for the concerns of those who don’t feel safe returning with alternatives like remote work.

Communicate With Your Employees

While it’s great to have a sound plan, it’s just as important to know how your employees feel about it. This means engaging in open listening, having HR survey people to discuss the most pressing issues, and following your employees’ lead.

Providing tips to employees about how to be more comfortable wearing masks is another way to make returning to the office safer and less stressful.

Set Up a Transition Team

You need to have an effective transition team to communicate with your employees about going back to the office. Your HR team should lead the effort, but make sure they account for the needs of all your employees in every department (e.g., manufacturing won’t have the same issues as marketing).

Set up schedules so that employees know what’s happening and when things will occur, but stay flexible and open to the possibility of unexpected problems.

Put Safety First

When issues hit the fan, it’s hard to prioritize which to solve first. Put employee safety at the top of the list, and make sure you walk the walk and talk the talk. Track the changes in medical safety recommendations and follow them. This includes having a policy and a procedure for testing and clear guidelines on what to do for employees who test positive, all while maintaining employee privacy as required by law.

Acknowledge Your Fallibility and Be Flexible

Regardless of how you handle your employees returning to the office, people will make mistakes. Admit when they happen and explain the corrections you’re implementing.