With the Covid-19 virus still impacting communities and businesses, employees may be feeling a sense of anxiety when it comes to returning to the office. Recognize that as a manager or leader, simply meeting state and local safety regulations might not be enough to give your team peace of mind. To help your company transition back into the office effectively, here are four ways you can improve building safety and reinforce a culture that puts people first:
Provide Communication Tools
Establishing strong feedback loops between employees and managers is one of the most important ways to identify the needs and feelings of the people you work with. Consider providing additional training to all manager-level team members discussing how to recognize stress, listen with empathy and lead through crises.
In addition to these practices, provide your employees with the proper digital tools to communicate with each other. Whether it's a simple chat message or email, community and support can often be found in the simple messages shared from day to day. If you're not sure what software to invest in, here are 9 of the most top-rated platforms used by businesses today.
Create a Clean Working Environment
Limiting potential spread of the virus is still vital to maintaining public health. Before your team steps back into the building, create and communicate a plan that addresses both sanitization and social distancing:
Sanitization: While many offices already employ a janitorial service, a recent survey of business leaders indicated that 28 percent of companies will now be following CDC-recommended cleaning procedures, with an additional 34 percent using a combination of a janitorial and professional cleaning service to get the job done.
Social Distancing: Survey your office floor plan and identify high-traffic areas or conference rooms that do not allow your employees to maintain the recommended 6 feet of space. Rearrange public working areas to accommodate for these regulations and establish conference room capacities and hallway traffic directions to further keep employees safe.
Provide Diverse Mental Health Resources
Managing personal stress can feel overwhelming, and there are a lot of resources that businesses can provide to support their team of talent. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, research is showing a 26 percent increase in the number of organizations offering mental health resources, with nearly 90 percent already offering comprehensive support.
It's important to diversify the types of mental health resources provided, because no two people are alike: what may work for one individual is less effective to another. This means that your Human Resources team should look into a wide variety of offerings from insurance coverage to wellness assessments, education programs, 24/7 telehealth lines and in-patient treatment policies for time away.
Operate with Flexibility
Just as new information is discovered every day surrounding the virus and its effects, we must also accept that our approach will likely change over time. Be open to adjusting your operating model and receiving new information.
Finally, ensure that all your actions fall under an umbrella of empathy. Some of your employees may be balancing at-home schooling for their children while others are caring for an immuno-compromised senior parent during this time. Choose to run your business operations in a way that takes these stressors into account and be ready to support your employees in non-traditional ways. As we continue to create safe working environments, we allow our team to perform to the best of their abilities and navigate the stress of working during Covid-19.