5 Things To Help Employees Return to Work in 2021 Post-Pandemic

Did you know most people believe that the worst of the pandemic is behind us? As an employer, that’s good news. It means that many of your staff members are ready to come back to the office if you make a place for them. Just like there are things you need to do to prepare your home for guests, there are things you can do to make the office ready for employees to return to work. Here are 5 of them:

Create a Cleaning Plan

Not only should you create a plan for cleaning the office, but you also need to communicate that plan to your staff. You’ll want to make sure to clean any community spaces more thoroughly than before and perhaps even provide your staff with supplies to help clean their workstations as well. Cleaning is one of the ways that stores and essential businesses help reduce the spread of COVID throughout the pandemic. It’s one of the simplest ways you can do your part in your office. It’s one of the ways that staff can feel more comfortable working at the office versus working at home.

Offer Flexible Working Arrangements

This past year has shown many businesses that they can indeed offer work-from-home options without sacrificing productivity. While you may want to get everyone back in the office for simpler collaboration and meeting options, it’s possible to offer more than one option. Maybe you allow your staff the option to work from home 3 days a week, but then twice a week they need to be in the office for collaboration. Perhaps you want fewer people in the office at one time. So, you offer shifts for working at the office. This can allow for workspaces to be cleaned in between shifts and more.

Clarify Your HR Policies

It’s important to decide what new rules and regulations you will follow. Will masks be required all day or only if in close proximity? What will you do about vaccinations? In addition to these “new” considerations, you also need to make sure that your current HR policies are clear and up-to-date. Does anyone need a new employee background check? Have all of your team members turned in all the mandatory paperwork?

Allow People to Choose

While it may seem natural to have everyone come back to the office, if your staff has been doing a great job while working from home and they enjoy it, why not let them continue? Working from home has allowed many people to try something new. For them, working from home means that they save time and money on commuting. Parents get more time with their children because they spend less time in the car getting to and from work. This has allowed for far better work-life balance even for non-parents than ever before. Instead of spending hours in traffic, they get more rest and are better able to focus on work each day. If possible, allow people to choose from a variety of work options that can be mutually beneficial.

Make the Office Fun Again

While it’s possible that you need to re-think the way you do some of your office parties post-COVID, it doesn’t mean you can’t still create a fun and exciting work environment. Send out a survey and find out what things your staff would enjoy in the office. Part of working in an office is the social environment and being around other people. Maybe you don’t have a big holiday party anymore, but you allow managers to gather their smaller teams for celebrations. Perhaps you can give individual cupcakes for birthdays instead of a sheet cake. The pandemic caused a lot of fear, and while precautions are still warranted, a little “safe” fun at work can help ease a lot of stress.

The pandemic has changed the way the world works. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, many small businesses want to get back to normal office hours. If you want to help your employees return to work, you need to make sure you take new precautions, communicate with them clearly, and help staff still have fun at work. Clarify your new HR policies and keep offering flexible work arrangements. If your team has been working from home this whole time, it’s evident that they can continue if they need or want to.

Adam Hansen