Many states are lifting their stay at home orders and businesses are preparing to re-open. As businesses begin preparations to re-open their doors for business, it is imperative for employers to assess and address workplace policies, office supplies, and employee-related issues. From sanitization, cleaning supplies, and health-related workplace policies to ensuring employee safety and confidence returning to work, businesses need to address all facets of relief for their workplaces.
QBS has provided some tips to help businesses prepare employees for return to work.
Promoting Positive Workplace Culture
Developing Transparent Communication and Policies
Aside from the distraction of fear and uncertainty, employees may be preoccupied in their return to the office. Establishing an efficient and effective communications process that encompasses empathy and transparency for the continued COVID-19 situation can provide employees the support and understanding they seek. Some employees may still be experiencing the effects of the pandemic, such as concern about or caring for their loved ones, limited childcare, and mental health issues. Implementing modified policies that embrace the changing productivity requirements, flexible work arrangements, and providing resources for questions or issues pertaining to the situation can alleviate the fear and stress, as well as demonstrate your positivity and support for your employees’ safety and well-being.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, it is imperative that these communication processes effectively distribute real-time updates. Updates may include announcements or information from public health or government agencies, company initiatives to maintain a safe work environment, and ways for employees to provide feedback.
Fostering Employee Engagement
Part of developing a positive, supportive work culture involves employee engagement. Most everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 in some way and individuals cope differently with crises. Encourage employees to express improvements to workplace safety, productivity, and the resources to do so. For example, collaborating with HR can streamline implementation of new policies and procedures. HR can also provide more informed answers to any questions employees may have regarding state, federal, and/or public health agency regulations.
Incorporating Wellness Activities and Programs
In both personal and professional settings, COVID-19 has created many hardships for individuals. Creating fun teambuilding activities and breaks from their daily tasks can help alleviate the stress most employees will be feeling upon return.
This is also a great time to establish or revise an employee assistance program (EAP). EAPs are employer-sponsored programs aimed to provide employee assistance for substance abuse, marital problems, stress management, mental health issues, child care or eldercare, and financial or legal issues. EAPs can provide great benefits for both employees and employers, including lower heath care costs, absenteeism, workplace accidents and disability claims, as well as increase employee productivity, morale, and retention.
Offer Training and Resources
People cope with stress differently. Recognizing signs of distress and knowing how to effectively intervene is critical for businesses to protect their employees. Offering training and resources are the first steps to creating a stronger, united workforce. Talk to other businesses to see what kinds of trainings and resources are available and ensure your staff knows how to locate them.
Another great practice to focus on is active listening. Now is the prime time to be listening to your employees’ questions and concerns and addressing them as fast and honest as possible. Financial stressors, child care, marital, and fear of returning to work are likely to be commonplace upon employees’ return to work. Preparing your HR team and Communications team can help offset the flood of questions and panic employees seek upon return.
Partner with Healthcare Providers
COVID-19 has undoubtedly prompted the healthcare industry to switch into high gear. Reach out to healthcare providers and partner with them to find plans and services that best suit your employees’ needs. Telemedicine, mental health, and COVID-19 treatment services are likely to be primary concerns to address in discussions with healthcare providers.
To promote employee well-being, offering innovative, discounted, and flexible benefits plans can greatly assist employee wellness. For example, QBS offered free telehealth and financial wellness services for 90 days to immediately address health and financial impacts resulting from COVID-19.
Whether you are already open or looking to re-open soon, it is vital for you to take the proper precautions to prepare employees to return to work. If you need assistance or are not sure where to start, please contact QBS. Our team of industry experts can provide immediate services and solutions for your business’s needs.