As the Clear Vision team looks forward to coming together again in the office after Easter, it feels both a relief and slightly surreal after so long working remotely from each other.
Whether like me you will be welcoming your whole team back to the workplace imminently, following a further furlough period or have team members who will return to join those who have continued their roles as key workers at your premises, here are my thoughts and recommendations on how to make sure that their return is smooth, effective and happy.
Here are 6 tips for a successful return to the workplace, I hope they will help you feel prepared and confident as you bring your team back together.
- Check in with each team member before their return
Check in before they come back to gauge their thoughts, discuss any concerns about coming back to the workplace and get an update on their personal situation.
If you can, a face-to-face catch up over video software (via Zoom, Teams) is better than a telephone conversation as it’s more revealing to see their face.
If they are feeling anxious about returning, remember you can direct them to the useful stress management resources in our Wellbeing Resource Centre, which may help them feel calmer. You can also go through the safety measures and systems you have/are putting in place in your workplace to reassure them.
Bear in mind that furloughed team members may feel out of touch or even resentful, particularly if other team members have carried on working or been brought back from furlough earlier. Reassure them that everyone is eagerly anticipating their return, and share what you can about your plans for your business as we continue on the journey out of the pandemic, so they feel involved.
- Mark their return to work
On their arrival in the workplace, welcome those returning and celebrate their return. It is important to re-establish a sense of unity and reinforce your business culture. A ‘welcome back’ team-building exercise and/or informal meeting can be useful. This process should be repeated if your team members are to return on a staggered basis.
- ‘Re-induct’ your returning team members
Go through key working systems and policies, both existing and new, including measures in place to keep your team and any visitors to the workplace safe.
- Clearly communicate your sick leave policy
Reassure your team that they are to self-isolate at home should they experience Covid-19 symptoms after returning, remain at home until the self-isolation period is over or they overcome Covid-19, and will be asked to go home should they develop symptoms while at work. Update your policy as necessary to comply with current public health guidelines.
- Talk to each team member individually
Follow up with each team member following their return to discuss how they are feeling as they transition back into the workplace. Assess any residual concerns about returning to work such as family arrangements they may need to manage. Be flexible and answer their queries openly and honestly. This is especially important for team members who may be more vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19.
- Be flexible about working practices where possible
I believe that it’s important to be receptive to the needs of your individual team members.
It’s likely you will highlight needs and challenges around when, where and even possibly how certain team members carry out their work as you check in with them, before or after their return to the workplace.
I have been able to agree to a member of my team continuing to work a day a week from home so he’s able to collect his son from school on a day when other family members aren’t around. Lockdown has proven that it is possible for our team to work from home, so it’s a win win for this team member and my business in accommodating him with this.
You will know how and where you can be flexible to accommodate the needs of your team and I encourage you to do so.
Wishing your team a smooth return to work. Remember my team and I are here to chat through your plans or help in any way we can at this time.
Matthew Rogers FCCA