After COVID-19, most workplaces will look strikingly different as businesses implement policies and procedures to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace. For the foreseeable future, employees will be asked to adjust to requirements like medical screenings, face masks and social distancing, among others.
These measures are not only intended to help keep staff healthy, but to optimize the environment for continuity and productivity. But with demonstrations erupting across the country over coronavirus measures, can businesses expect all employees to be on board with the changes?
Here are five ways you can support your team in embracing the new normal.
- Adopt a policy: Some companies may choose to develop a COVID-19 illness policy that outlines the new workplace procedures intended to make the workplace safer for everyone. If you adopt a policy, send it to all employees and have them acknowledge they’ve read it by signing. And be sure to share the consequences for failure to comply: discipline, up to and including termination.
- Lead by example: Leadership needs to be the first to get behind the new norms to set an example for employees. That means following the same guidelines everyone else is expected to comply with. By demonstrating your ability to be flexible and commitment to adapting to the new environment, you’ll inspire others to follow your lead.
- Over-communicate: Even though developments may have slowed down since the height of the pandemic, it’s still critical to stay in touch with your team. Whether you have everyone back on site or some still remote, be sure to stay connected, check in on how they’re doing with the new protocols, and make sure employees have what they need to be productive. And thank them for their continued flexibility and understanding with your policies.
- Encourage support: Well-being took a hit during the pandemic. And the new workplace practices can make things worse by serving as daily reminders about the gravity of the pandemic, triggering fears and other feelings that can impact morale. As workers return, share the importance of being understanding during this time and establish new ways for employees to connect and strengthen their relationships.
- Look forward: The world is forever different because of COVID-19, and the protocols in place in the workplace are the reality now. Help employees understand that while some things may have changed, like how we interact, there’s still the same potential for career growth, development and success – boosted in many cases by the newfound independence and empowerment realized from working remotely.
Karyn Rhodes is vice president and director of Complete HR Solutions, a division of Complete Payroll Solutions.