COVID – The New Normal in the Workplace

It’s felt like a lifetime in ‘Lockdown 3.0’ and the restrictions are finally starting to be phased out. This period has taken a toll on the mental and physical health of all of us.

At WeDo HR Support, we want you to do right by your employees. So, we’ve come up with some tips for you to gradually get your teams back to work:

First and foremost – ensure you are following the social distancing rules, protective equipment and necessary precautions – you can download a covid business risk assessment here:

How to prepare for going back into the office after Covid-19

Ask your employees:

–    The only way to help your employees integrate back in the most appropriate was is by including them in the decision-making processes – find out what works best for them and see what you can do to help facilitate this

–   CIPD has a great guide on making the decision to return to the workplace 

o   Inform everyone as soon as possible

–     Help to ease anxiety by allowing your people to plan in advance

–    Update your policies and procedures to reflect new practices and share them with employees ensuring all their questions are answered

–    ACAS has a great guide for employers updating their policies and procedures 

Staged approach

–    Gradually introduce employees back to work in the office again, assess your progress and re-evaluate on a regular basis

–    Take your time, don’t rush bringing the whole office back – the working dynamics have changed and what worked before may not work now 

–    APSCo have a variety of different guides and webinars for returning to work 

Keep in touch

–   Ensure you are keeping in touch with employees daily, whether they are in the office or not

–    With a mixture of employees working from home and in the office, it can be easy to forget those who may be feeling left out – ensure you have a group call regularly to update everyone

–   ACAS has an informative guide on how to keep in touch with your employees 

Flexible working

–    Take a flexible approach in employees working hours – half days, 3 days in 2 days at home, flexible hours to accommodate the new normal

–   Ease employees back into the workplace –productive and happy employees are the ones most comfortable in the environment

–    CIPD has some great information and support guides on flexible working 

Introduce lunchtime and break activities for mental health

–    Encourage employees to go out for walks, have exercise sessions over lunch or social activities

–    Help with the adjustment to home and work schedules – a lot of employees may have a hard time adjusting to the new normal – anything you can do to ease anxiety is beneficial to employee wellbeing

–   There are some great active challenges your company can take part in on the mental health foundation website

The ‘New Normal’ may seem daunting.

These steps may seem a bit daunting but, as time goes on, this new way of working will become the new normal. You may find your employees’ productivity and company progress growing substantially without the need to be in the office full time.

Take time to experiment with what strategies work best for you. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this integration. It’s up to you and your employees. So, include them in the decision-making process from the beginning, see what they think is the most suitable strategies for returning to work. Remember that they’ve adapted well to the last year and your business will benefit from a whole new normal.

If you need any guidance on how to implement these strategies, WeDo can help.

We wish you and your employees all the best in this transition. 

Sarah Cook

MD of WeDo HR Support.

Give us a buzz: 0330 900 8787