In March 2020, the UK found itself in very unfamiliar territory when the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced that ‘you must stay at home’, in order to reduce the impact of the ‘ biggest threat this country has faced for decades.’
We are only a year down the line, but it still quite difficult to take ourselves back to the time when we were only permitted to leave the house for ‘essentials.’ These draconian measures may have been for our own good, but they came with a wealth of consequences.
With the message of ‘stay at home’ firmly in our minds, the home changed from being a place of comfort we returned to after a busy day at the office – it became our lives. Although the pandemic is still going, we are, thankfully, living a more normal life, with many of us returning to the home, on a semi, if not full time, basis. With this in mind, it is important for employers to support employees after lockdown.
We don’t want to continue to think about Covid, but we must keep in mind the effects it has had. In the most extreme cases, your employees may have lost loved ones, but there are also other consequences, including the negative effects on mental health. People have been confined to their homes for over a year, and so, returning to the office can be nerve-wracking for some. These are some ways you can support your employees after lockdown, when returning to the office.
Instead of expecting employees to return to the office full time, you can support employers after lockdown by considering offering greater flexibility, such as hybrid working. Although working from home has been challenging, many people have enjoyed the longer lies in bed and the much- needed respite from the rush hour traffic. Most employers are becoming more flexible with employees after the pandemic, and this is one way you can support them on their return.
Greater flexibility makes for a happier workforce. A recent survey by PwC found that 84% of employees felt that they were able to perform their role just as well when working remotely, compared to working from the office.
Team Day Out
After being so confined to our homes and dipping our feet back into the world of work, what better way to ease us in than a team day out. At FPSG, we had a team day out and made the most of seeing each other again after so long. It is something to consider for your own employees. It can take away the awkwardness and just allow everyone to have fun and get back into the swing of socialising again. It can be less daunting than walking into an office full of people you haven’t seen for some time.
Regular check-ins are even more important when your employees start returning to the office. The check-ins don’t need to be anything indepth, simply asking how your employees are feeling and to show that you value them, can be enough to help them feel more secure within their role and environment. This is an important factor to support employees after lockdown.
Accommodate Their Needs
It is important to remember that while some of your employees will be comfortable in the normal working environment, others are still wary and even scared of Covid. It is, therefore, a good idea to speak to each of your employees on return to work to find out what they are comfortable with. For instance, they may ask that no-one shakes their hand, they may want to sit at distance from others or wear their mask all day. In past times, these requests may have seemed unreasonable, but you need to be prepared to deal with employees who may be anxious and try to accommodate them, were possible.
Promote a Healthy Balance
One good thing about the pandemic is that many people realised they have to adopt a better work and life balance, and this should be upheld, even after the pandemic. Making sure your employees are taking care of themselves is paramount and this includes ensuring they take regular breaks, and step away from their desks. You can also encourage them to get fresh air by taking them for a coffee on occasion. Small actions can make a huge difference.
If you are a candidate looking for a new job , and you have any concerns about returning to the workplace, get in touch and we will be happy to help you find the most suitable options. Alternatively, if you are looking for new candidates to support your business, we can provide you with our expertise to help ensure you find the right hire.