Returning to the workplace – The new office landscape
As we prepare for the lifting of COVID19 restrictions and we embark on returning to the workplace there are a number of items businesses should keep in mind in the planning to return to work. Many employees may be anxious as they mentally prepare for a return to the workplace as they will be unsure of the surroundings in the office space they use to know. Some of your employees will be on public transport again for the first time in a number of months, others will be faced with walking through our city streets to the office. No matter which of these categories your employees fall into or how they will be travelling back to the office, there are a number of things we can ask ourselves about returning to work –
- Is our workplace clean and ready to have a workforce return to it?
- Have we made a work health and safety assessment of the office space?
- Have we installed hand sanitizing stations?
- Are there posters and notifications to remind people about hygiene and social distancing?
- Hand washing
- Social distancing
- Do we require additional PPE?
- Do we have a robust cleaning and sanitizing schedule in place?
- Have we asked employees why they might be anxious to return to the workplace?
- Do we have mental health support options in place if our employees require additional support?
There are a number of resources available for all businesses to assist with some of the elements outlined above. These FREE resources can be found on the Safe Work Australia (SWA) website https://swa.govcms.gov.au/ . These resources are endorsed by the Federal Government and provide the most up to date and appropriate guidelines as outlined by the World Health Organisation. On the SWA website you will find an array of industry specific information that will assist with the repatriation of the workforce to the workplace.
A number of businesses may encounter resistance from employees not willing to return to the workplace. This can be a complex situation to manage and it is important to seek to understand the reluctance of employees to return to the workplace. This unwillingness to return may stem from a number of aspects –
- of the unknown
- the new workplace
- contact with other employees
- contact with the general population on the way to work
To address a number of these fears and apprehension about returning to the workplace it is worth considering a reorientation of employees back into the work spaces they once knew. As employees begin to return to the workplace an orientation program which consists of all of the work health and safety and hygiene initiatives introduced by the business will go a long way to removing that apprehension and outline the new way of working within the workplace.
These are unprecedented times in our economic and employment landscapes. TalentcodeHR and the HR on Demand Team are here to assist you to ensure you and your employees are reintegrated into the workplace in the best way possible. Phone: 1300 55 99 62 or firstname.lastname@example.org