Now that companies have been given the green light to bring employees back into the office, many business owners and leaders are wondering how to do this safely and effectively.
I had the privilege last week to present at a webinar on this topic with the McManis Faulkner employment law team. Here are some tips I shared at that event.
Create a plan. Assemble a cross-functional team who will provide input on business needs to determine when to bring employees back and what that will look like. Survey employees to understand their concerns. Review individual jobs and decide which need to return to the office and which can stay remote. Take into account any out-of-state situations where guidelines may be different.
Be flexible – consider a “soft” re-opening. Some employees are anxious to return to the office. Others are not. Consider opening in phases to allow those with “wait and see” concerns to return at the later date. Also, based on your review of jobs, can you offer a hybrid work situation to those employees whose jobs aren’t required in the office five days a week?
Be compassionate. Over the past year there has been an increase in substance abuse, depression and anxiety. Some employees may still be struggling with fears and the effects of isolation even as they are able to return to work. Offer mental health services and brown bag lunches on mental health topics to help those with concerns.
Create an environment that attracts and retains women. Women were disproportionately impacted by the effects of the COVID pandemic. In fact, nearly 2.2 million women left the workforce entirely due to school closures, caring for a loved one, or the lack of affordable childcare. Consider implementing flexible schedules and parent-friendly policies. Review compensation annually and make adjustments to achieve pay equity. Promote more women to leadership positions at all levels of the company. And when hiring, give credit for activities and leadership roles taken during work gaps (for example, PTA president).
If you have questions or need help putting together your return-to-work plan, please consider Connect to HR’s 3-hour Just in Time Advisory Service. Many of my clients found this service helpful last year as they made the shift to a remote work model or needed to keep their essential business open safely.
With Just in Time Advisory Service, you can access up to 3 hours of “live” HR consulting support from a trusted, senior-level HR consultant by phone, email or in person. Our service is specifically designed for small to medium sized companies:
- Owners/CEOs/Nonprofit Leaders
- Those running the HR function
- People new to HR operations
Whether you need a sounding board to discuss approaches to an employee relations issue, want tips on how to create a workforce plan, or have questions about implementing a social distancing protocol in the office, Connect to HR’s Just in Time Guide is here to help.
You do not have to do it alone!
Contact us today for a FREE 45-minute consultation to see how Just in Time: Your Guide to HR can benefit you. Click the link below to schedule an appointment.