Employees and employers alike are anxious to return to “normal” after living through the stress, fear, and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

As stay-at-home restrictions are slowly lifted, our new normal is likely to look and feel very different from the pre-COVID-19 days. Many organizations are considering when, how, and if their employees will return to the workplace.

 

To enable a successful and productive return to work, employers must take action to alleviate employee fears, train on new protocols and ways of working, and engage in a physically separated workforce. Employers need to deploy a variety of proven channels for effective communication, while also providing tools and support for managers, to accomplish these goals.



Communicate thoughtfully to effectively guide employees back to the workplace:

 

  • Map the experience - Identify the interactions that employees and people managers will have in the workplace and what communication support they will need at every step.
  • Provide training on protocols - Local leaders, HR, and people managers will need training to ensure protocols are understood – and to avoid missteps with sensitive medical information.
  • Offer centralized information - Create online resources that provide each stakeholder group (managers, HR, and employees) with all the return-to-work information they need to perform their specific roles with confidence.
  • Stay connected - Develop a listening strategy using feedback mechanisms and create real-time communication channels, such as text messaging, to ensure timely, relevant, and effective communications.

You won’t be able to anticipate every issue that may arise and there are no guarantees that after returning to work, we won’t have to step away again because of a new outbreak. However, to be as prepared as possible, it’s critical to take the time to think through what the return will look like, the protocols and policies you will need, the range of reactions your employees may have, and how to communicate clearly and in a way that demonstrates understanding and empathy.

Request a consultation with our experienced consultant today.