More than a year ago, companies across the globe made a sensible decision to send all of their employees into remote working following the pandemic. The strategic measures taken by the corporate leaders at the time prompted a curb in mass transmission rates.
As vaccines roll out around different corners of the world, things have slowly transitioned back to a new world of normalcy. With the employees vaccinated, many organizations are getting ready to open up their offices. Many employees may find this prospect amazing and for others, this new change can induce anxiety.
In a survey of 4,500 employees belonging to five different countries, almost all of them reported they are anxious about returning back to offices. For many, remote working gave an opportunity to be around their family, and for some, this ensured that they no longer had to endure the long commute to the office. All of these employees shared the collective concern of their safety if they returned to their offices.
The following steps will help the employers in addressing their employee concerns and possibly find a solution to all their dilemmas.
#Know Your Employee Concerns
Create a confidential medium where employees can share their concerns about returning to work. Several factors can prevent an employee from directly approaching the employer to talk about their conflicts. So to aid them in safely expressing what’s on their mind, if possible, create an anonymous survey. Then use the following insights to directly address their concerns. If the majority of the employees claim to be worried about safety in the workplace, then let them know what you have done to upgrade the safety measures. Listen to their suggestions and do your best to implement them. Whatever it is, make your employees feel heard.
#Accept Positive and Negative Feedback
Accept the fact that not everyone is going to be excited about coming back to the office. Allow them to have ambivalent feelings. Do not dismiss your employees’ concerns as negative comments and don’t try to encourage all of them to consider the brighter side of your solution. Allow for emotional ambivalence and never force a single solution for all of your employees’ apprehensions.
The pandemic had made most of us go through unforeseen circumstances. The sudden change of getting back to the offices can induce stress and anxiety in many employees. Be compassionate about your employees’ requirements and offer them flexibility during the initial stages of reopening. Encourage the hybrid working model to ease the transition process. Do what it takes to ease your staff’s anxiety and to avoid any friction in the whole transition process.
#Share the “Why”
Take the time to explain to your employees the real reason for opening up the offices. Let them know why you require their physical presence in the office and also state the benefits the employees can gain from this setup. Don’t hasten the whole process. Listen to your employees and consider their demands. Let them know you have a fool-proof plan to streamline their returning process.
#Experiment with Pilot Programs
Resort to pilot programs to kick start the transition process. Encourage your employees to come to the office maybe once a week and see how it goes. Learn from the process and listen to the feedback. The pilot programs will help the employees understand what they should expect when coming back to the office for good. If your staff have any suggestions after going through the process, make sure to listen to all of them.
#Practice Transparency and Compassion
Don’t give out false promises to encourage employees’ return back to the office. Instead, clearly state what to expect. You can never promise that returning back to the office is completely risk-free and will have zero implications on their health. Also, you shouldn’t assure your employees of having a completely flexible work environment if you have no plan to implement it. Be sincere about your future plans.
Practice compassion in all activities you do. Interact with your staff and listen to their needs. Check out for signs of anxiety or burnout in them and encourage policies that promote employee well-being. With that being said, we hope you have an overall smooth transition back to the office.