Employee wellbeing: Returning to the office
With the easing of restrictions and a return to the office for many, it has never been more important to check on your employees and their wellbeing.
Employee wellbeing may actually be boosted by a return to the office, many will be excited to get back to a level of normalcy and interact with colleagues again. However, a lot of people will be feeling incredibly anxious and scared.
As an employer, it is really necessary to ensure the process of returning to the office is as smooth as possible. Remember to consider everyone’s individual needs and make sure your staff feel confident that they are returning to a safe environment.
Here are some ideas to aid employee wellbeing and confidence as they return to the workplace:
Make some time to have a chat with each employee, or in bigger businesses ensure each employee has the chance to chat with their line manager about how they feel about returning to work. This will ensure any personal circumstances can be flagged such as employees who have care responsibilities, those who live with vulnerable people etc.
Pay attention to body language of each individual when they return, if they seem nervous/not themselves, take some time to have a cup of tea and a chat with them.
An Office Induction
Ensure employees are aware of all the new rules and regulations of the office and explain to them how you plan to keep them as safe as possible. Print out protocols, safety measures and new ways of working so they always have this to hand. Take videos of all the new safety measures you have implemented and share this across all communication channels. The more exposure that is given on the safety of the office, the more employees will feel comfortable about returning.
Make the return fair for all
Where it is possible, ensure managers follow the same return to work guidelines as the rest of the team. You can’t expect a positive return to the workplace if managers and senior team members do not also return.
A Welcome Back Kit
Where possible, consider providing them with a welcome back kit with some thoughtful items they’re likely to need on their return to work such as; travel-sized hand sanitiser, facemasks and disinfecting wipes to clean their desk or keyboard. You could also ask the employees to bring along some of their own personal things into the office like a water bottle and a mug for tea or coffee.
Employees who are shielding or who cannot return to work due to health conditions should be made to still feel part of the team and not isolated. Remember to keep up the regular video calls and check-ins.
Consider giving employees access to additional resources which will help as they navigate the return to the office.
Here are some ideas:
- Meditation apps or podcasts that can help relieve anxiety
- Access to yoga apps, free passes to yoga classes
- Access to digital resources with self-care tips
- Swimming passes
- Free counselling services
In addition, the charity MIND have plenty of useful resources including coronavirus specific tools for employers to promote a healthy and happy workplace.