5 Ways Businesses Can Help Employees Transition Back to On-Site Work
As businesses are ready to welcome employees back to the office, many employees are reluctant to give up their remote work flexibility and there are concerns about health and safety in the workplace. Find out how you can help your employees successfully transition back to on-site work while keeping them happy, healthy, and productive.
With vaccination efforts gaining steam and public health measures mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 virus, businesses are ready to welcome employees back to the office. However, when employees transitioned to remote work, they invested heavily in home office equipment and established a flexible routine in their personal life. While businesses may be enthusiastic to reinstate on-site work, employees might not be. A recent survey by YouGov showed that only 8% of US employees wished to return to the workplace full time, with most others preferring a more flexible work arrangement or hybrid work model.
For the transition back to on-site work to be successful, businesses may need to provide flexible arrangements and increased support for some workers. Here are five ways businesses can make the transition easier for your employees.
How Businesses Can Ease the Transition to Working On-Site
Adopt an Incremental Approach During the Transition
A major cause of stress for many at the onset of the pandemic was the whiplash caused by a sudden change in all social and professional interactions. Sweeping changes to norms and ongoing unpredictable regulations became extremely disorienting for many. The effects were amplified for employees facing existing mental health challenges. Companies must take this into account when deciding to welcome employees back to the office.
When reopening, businesses should allow employees a period of adjustment so they can become accustomed to a new work model that also supports their well-being. Businesses can do this by taking a step-by-step approach to bringing employees back to the office, with options for hybrid models.
Establish Positive Workplace Health and Safety
Despite high vaccination rates in some areas of the US, many Americans are concerned about returning to work on-site due to anxieties over whether or not the COVID virus is actually under control (e.g. Delta variant). This means businesses need to assure employees they are taking the necessary steps to protect their health and safety at work. Maintaining positive measures such as regular cleaning, sanitization, masking, and maintaining basic social distancing can help employees feel that their company values their safety and has taken steps to protect them from infection and illness.
Personalize Return Arrangements for Employees with Specific Needs
The relative success with which businesses have adapted to the changes brought by the pandemic has provided hope to employees who wish to transition to a more flexible work arrangement. However, this desire is not consistent across employee demographics. The 2021 EY Work Reimagined Employee Survey revealed that baby boomers are more likely to prefer a full return to the office while younger workers show a preference for more flexible work options.
A standardized work arrangement across employee segments is bound to be more preferred by one group compared to another. For all employees to feel heard and valued, it is important for companies to personalize work arrangements to the best of their abilities. Providing a tailored arrangement as much as possible for each employee also ensures that their needs are taken into consideration when making company-wide decisions.
Keep Lines of Communication Open Between Managers and Employees
The upcoming transition to on-site work is bound to be viewed differently by each team of employees. Therefore, each business requires a different approach to be taken for the transition to be successful. However, it can be difficult for business leaders to pinpoint exactly what makes their team different or the specific needs they have. This is why communication lines must remain open between managers and employees at all times. Clear communication creates a feedback loop that allows businesses to tweak policies based on the unique needs of their workforce.
The precedent of business as usual should, however, not be expected. As employees begin to re-socialize face-to-face once again, there may be moments of hesitation towards being in each other's physical space or time needed to re-acquaint with co-workers. CoreHealth's Social Face-to-Face Challenge, available on our Workplace Wellness Challenge Catalog, offers employees a way to rebuild positive relationships and improve mental, emotional, and social well-being. Positive relationships with co-workers are known to improve productivity, job satisfaction, and overall, make work more fun!
Improve Focus on Physical and Mental Wellness
Businesses and employees have both changed significantly since the onset of the pandemic. The major public health crisis prompted a renewed interest in physical and mental wellness. Individuals are more conscious of their lifestyle choices and their impact on their personal and professional lives. For businesses, this represents an opportunity to develop a holistic health and wellness program that genuinely benefits their employees. Like individuals, businesses must improve their focus on physical and mental health by designing and providing a health and wellness program that appeals to the unique needs of each employee.
The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way businesses and employees view work arrangements. As businesses strategize their transition to a sustainable long-term work solution, communication, empathy, and flexibility will be important to maintain strong relationships at the workplace, keep employees engaged, and maintain high levels of productivity.
To find out more about how you can keep your employees happy, healthy, and productive as they transition back to working on-site, feel free to contact us, we’ll connect you with one of our experts. Check out our blog to read more articles on employee health and wellness.
About CoreHealth Technologies
CoreHealth Technologies Inc. is a total well-being technology company trusted by global providers to power their health and wellness programs. Our wellness portals help maximize health, engagement, and productivity for 3+ million employees worldwide. We believe people are the driving force of organizations and supporting them to make behavior changes to improve employee health is in everyone’s best interest. With the most flexibility, customizations, and integrations of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s all-in-one wellness platform helps grow great wellness companies. Simple to sophisticated, based on you. For more information, visit the CoreHealth website.
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