Returning to Work: How to Support Your Employees’ Transition Back to the Office
With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting an array of unprecedented challenges for everyone, a significant number of employees were asked to make a quick transition to remote work. While work-from-home may not have been a typical preference by most employers, it became the only strategic way to strike a healthy balance between business continuity and employee safety and security. On the contrary, the workforce first went through the phase of navigating through the complexities of a sudden, pandemic-driven shift to remote work, followed by adjusting well and largely succeeding. As a result, back to in-person work will not be as easy as going back to business as usual. In fact, returning to work will carry its own set of concerns and anxieties in a ‘new normal’ environment.
“57% of workers cited safety as their top concern in the workplace.” – LinkedIn Survey (Conducted by Censuswide among working professionals across the US)
As businesses are resuming operations, they are also focusing on effective ways to support the employees in managing their re-entry anxiety. Some of the strategies to build trust among employees and make them feel supported and safe include:
- Change the office layout to create a socially distanced work environment, begin with phased re-entry, and encourage a hybrid model. Enhanced cleaning frequency and disinfecting has become the normal.
- Clearly explain the importance of returning to work and the measures taken to ensure employee well-being. Have a tw0-way communication to discuss the reasons it has become important to transition back-to-work.
- Maintain transparency in the planning phase, indicating what the management has in mind for ensuring employee safety, who are the key contact persons for all return-to-work queries and concerns, and other important details that eliminate uncertainty while building a sense of purpose in the plan.
These measures are important as employees are looking for support in the form of leadership during their transition to in-person work, but it is equally important to understand that we are in this together. A sustainable return-to-work plan must include necessary support from partners that are working closely to fulfil their role for outsourced service functions. Diversified Maintenance understands that the risk of returning to work has increased and at the same time, employees all throughout the country are concerned about their workplace safety. We share a mutual responsibility with all our customers, helping them support their employees overcome their accelerated concerns about safe return to work. As businesses have formulated response strategies to meet re-entry challenges in safe and productive ways, Diversified has revisited all facilities cleaning and maintenance programs and schedules to include necessary changes, enhanced cleaning practices, and routine disinfecting solutions.
According to a recent Deloitte survey, employees value visible onsite cleaning measures as a safety essential, such as regular cleaning of equipment and shared space by a cleaning service (64%), daily report of cleaning activities (50%), and regular disinfecting of shared furniture spaces (60%). The experience, skills, and training of our teams will not only drive employee confidence as they return to work, but will also stimulate a sense of cleanliness and safety demonstrating reliable service delivery and quality. While the basic workplace SOPs such as mandatory masks and providing hand sanitizer represent a company’s commitment to safety essentials, employees will not be able to trust and re-engage without visible cleaning applications and transparency of information.
Although it was not important prior to the pandemic, most employees now expect to know the specific safety, cleaning, and disinfecting measures taken at their workplace. Diversified Maintenance is prepared to offer quality services, proper staffing, increased frequency, advanced products and tools, and adequate PPE tailored around the specific scope of work for each customer. The teams are also focusing on updating and adapting procedures according to guidance from government authorities as well as expert recommendations from CDC, ISSAand OSHA.
Diversified Maintenance: Working Collectively to Identify Your Employee Concerns, Delivering Tangible Support, and Thriving in the New Work Environment