Employers worldwide are feeling ready to bring employees back to the office, with three in four workers stating that they will not continue to work remotely after the lockdown period ends. Many employees may feel under pressure to return to the normal ways of working pre-pandemic, and employers have a responsibility to address any stress at work felt by staff in this scenario. So how can employers work with their staff to boost morale when going back to the office?
A plan of action to bring employees back to the office will help gain their trust and boost their morale during a challenging time. Appropriate risk assessments which act in accordance with current health and safety recommendations will show staff that you are prepared and are looking after their health. Global supply chains are working hard to ensure everyone receives a vaccine and to ensure that the challenges to storage and delivery times are met to meet demand. Employers should also have a strategy for employees who need time away to get their vaccination. Doctors are increasingly concerned about asymptomatic patients, so appropriate measures should be in place for social distancing.
Employees trust employers and HR managers who communicate changes to them in good time and effectively. Last-minute moves to the office environment could create fear, anxiety, and perhaps a reluctance to return if employees do not feel safe enough. Effective communication requires listening to your employees and emotional intelligence to ensure that you are sensitive to staff needs. Some individuals may cope better with returning to the office environment than others; therefore, it is important to recognise this when in discussions. Offer them a chance to talk about this to boost their morale when returning to the office.
Employers do not know what their staff have been through during the pandemic. There could have been a loss in the family, or they may have taken ill themselves. It is important to remember this when mapping out your strategy for returning to the office, as there may be colleagues who are fearful. Encourage engagement from staff to discuss how they return to work and at what pace. Let colleagues know that their HR leaders are ready to be compassionate about what they have been through or are still going through. Over 90 million people in India live with a mental health condition; therefore, help should be offered to ensure that staff feel better about returning to the office.
Having a strategy to boost good feeling when returning to the office will help improve employee relations with HR and management. Ensuring that you provide a listening ear will help boost morale and increase trust among employees.
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