For millions of employers and employees worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges and uncertainties that have forced them to quickly shift to remote working. In just a short period of time, many companies have learned to adapt to the post-COVID-19 world, implementing a work-from-home setup to keep employees’ well-being and business continuity as compact as possible.
As Singapore gradually reopens its economy, more and more organisations are thinking ahead of how they can efficiently communicate and transition hundreds of employees back to their office while also implementing social distancing measures and new company policies in line with COVID-19 prevention. Companies usually ask: How do we successfully transition back to the office? Where and how do we start?
After months of living under Phase 2 of reopening, Singapore has now entered Phase 3. With this, public spaces can now accommodate a larger capacity, up to 8 people can participate in social gatherings and more and more employees are expected to return to their offices.
Given the long period that most employees have spent working from their homes, some of them might feel discouraged or even worse, resent the thought of coming back to the office. To prevent this from ever happening, what do you think can Human Resources do?
4 Tips for Transitioning Back to the Office in a Post-COVID-19 World
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dealing with the post-COVID-19 world, there are still steps and techniques that organisations can use as they face these unprecedented challenges:
Communicate your objectives
Being an efficient leader goes beyond implementing rules and regulations. The right leader embodies his goals, ensuring that every employee sees and follows his example.
HR managers, for instance, should know how and when to take initiative to get all things up and running. They are expected to take the lead in implementing company policies regarding health and safety measures, from requiring employees to wear masks, minimising physical interactions to scanning QR Safe-entry codes.
With HR managers and staff strictly adhering to these health and safety measures in a post-COVID-19 world, it would eventually create a sense of unity. In turn, employees will likely look at them as a great example that they should follow.
Provide employees with flexible working schedules
One of the biggest concerns most employees are thinking about in terms of transitioning back to the office in a post-COVID-19 world is the risk of contracting the virus. In most cases, employees are required to work within the confined spaces in their office increasing the chances of people interacting with one another and the risk of transmission.
To address this issue, organisations can implement flexible working hours to reduce the number of employees coming to the office all at the same time. Additionally, allowing employees to choose their preferred work schedules instead of providing them a pre-assigned timeslot.
By giving them this kind of freedom, you also give the employees the reassurance they need in this challenging time. This can help ensure that despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll have a motivated workforce that will keep the business afloat.
Prioritise physical distancing
Utilising the largely vacant offices can be used to strictly implement physical distancing, especially for critical workers who are soon heading back in the office in a post-COVID-19 world. While simply retaining the existing layout of the office space, re-assigning seats can be done to accommodate the latest standards for safe and efficient physical distancing.
Identify essential staff
Although many companies have implemented the work-from-home setup, critical workers cannot work remotely due to several reasons such as the nature of their jobs. While some of them may be the first set of employees to come back in, others are actually going to the office even during the peak of the pandemic.
To identify critical staff and make the proper adjustments, HR data can be used for creating a phased employee return plan. This will help you determine who needs to return in which phase.
Summary: Transitioning Back to Office in a Post-COVID-19 World
As we look forward to the months ahead and transition back to the office in a post-COVID-19 world, we hope that these tips and considerations can help provide the balance needed to create a safe and efficient workplace.