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How do I welcome back employees after lockdown? #COVID19

The Covid-19 outbreak has undoubtedly thrown a spanner in the works for many business owners, but slowly, life is starting to return to something that resembles normality. If you run a company, and you’re preparing to welcome employees back, here are some tips to help you ease your team in and adapt to new ways of working. 

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/multi-cultural-people-3184419/

Flexible working patterns

Many employees have moved from offices to dining or kitchen tables or spare rooms doubled up as studies in the last few months. While some businesses will be keen to resume normal proceedings as quickly as possible, others may have adapted to a more flexible approach, which they are eager to maintain after lockdown. As the boss, you might find that your employees have enjoyed being at home more, or that you have saved a lot of money by having a remote workforce. It’s worth analysing how the past few months have gone and using data and employee feedback to consider making changes. Flexibility is increasingly important for employees, and following more fluid working patterns is an excellent way to transition between staying at home and getting back into the swing of working in an office. 

Prioritising health and wellbeing

The lockdown has been a challenge for everyone, but for some, it has been particularly difficult. Some people will be keen to get back to work as they know it and to be out and about, while others might be anxious or nervous. Prioritising health and wellbeing has never been more important for employers. Talk to individuals, ask questions, encourage people to raise concerns or worries and go the extra mile to support those who are anxious or stressed. You can use wellbeing solutions like the LifeWorks platform, provide access to mental health resources and advice and arrange regular catch-ups to keep channels of communication open. Get together in person or virtually, outline clear objectives, provide updates and let your workforce know that if they have any issues, you are there to listen. It’s also crucial to make sure you’re aware of new procedures and measures to enhance health and safety and to ensure your employees are up to speed with the changes. 

Communicating

Many of us will have gone for weeks without seeing our colleagues in the flesh. After a long period of time when people have been working on different projects or tackling tasks at different stages of the day, it’s beneficial to organise catch-up meetings and to discuss what has happened during lockdown and what the next steps are. The future may still be uncertain, but providing the latest information you do have and encouraging open communication will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Once you’ve reflected on the lockdown period, you can move on to planning the next few months. 

Picture from https://pixabay.com/photos/online-meeting-virtual-skype-zoom-5059828/

Gradually, people are returning to work. If you run a business, and you’re looking forward to welcoming your employees back, it’s beneficial to plan in advance and to take steps to ease your team in. Maintaining flexible working arrangements, communicating and putting health and wellbeing first will help to facilitate a smooth transition. 

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