As vaccine rollouts gather steam, there’s hope that businesses will reopen soon. Although it is the first tangible step towards normalcy, you cannot be too sure about calling employees back to work. Resurgent waves and new strains are still ravaging the world, and you cannot go slack with employee wellness. The bottom line is that worker health and safety should be your top concern when you reopen. Daunting as the task sounds, you can take some simple measures to keep the virus out and get employees back with full confidence. Here are some steps you can implement to do your bit for employee wellness in the new normal.
Start with a safe transition
The first step is a safe transition from the remote model to back to business as usual. Consider the meaning of the “new normal” for your company, whether you expect the entire team to work from the office or let some employees continue with WFH. If your office is not spacious enough to accommodate everyone while observing the workplace social distancing rules, a hybrid approach makes sense. A change in the floor layout may be an option if you can bear the expense. Alternatively, you could transition with smart scheduling and working shifts. Consider what works for you because it will decide your approach to reopening while ensuring safety for everyone.
Create a new pandemic preparedness plan
Once you have a reopening roadmap, creating a new pandemic preparedness plan should be next on your checklist. If you are already operating with a minimum capacity, consider updating the current plan. Check the current CDC guidelines to understand the issues already covered and ones that need to be addressed. Thorough cleanup and sanitization for the facility is a good start. Get professional janitorial cleaning services to ensure that every nook and corner is germ-free. Ensure that every employee is vaccinated before they rejoin because it is the best measure for protecting them and your business. While your plan must prioritize compliance, it must also consider employee inputs. Listening to your team reassures them about your involvement and interest in their safety.
Lead with empathy
When it comes to doing your bit for employee wellness, nothing matters more than an empathic approach. Measures for social distancing, hand hygiene, sensitization, and personal protection are great from the physical safety perspective. But empathic leadership focuses on mental wellness, which is equally important during challenging times like this. Individual emotional responses may vary, so you cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach. Some people will be happy to get back, while others may be apprehensive because they have compromised immune systems or vulnerable family members at home. As a leader, you must take a compassionate approach and rethink alternatives that work for such cases.
The business reopening will be a giant leap for any organization in this critical phase, but you will probably want to resume sooner rather than later. As you take the step, prioritize employee safety and wellness. You will get a team of productive and loyal people with just a little extra effort for their well-being.