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Strategies to better engage workers and foster employee wellness when returning to the office

Employee engagement and wellness should be given extra attention as teams return to the office during uncertain times.

According to Forrester, 41% of employees feel uncertain about returning to work However, a well thought out plan with the right procedures in place can help with the gradual transition back to the office. Communicate a solid plan for reopening with employees and consider workplace strategies to foster employee engagement and wellness when workers need reassurance

Employee engagement and wellness should be given extra attention as teams return to the office during uncertain times. A workforce is a business’s greatest asset. Employees should be accommodated to help alleviate any anxieties they may be experiencing. According to Forrester, 41% of employees feel uncertain about returning to work. However, a well thought out plan with the right procedures in place can help with the gradual transition back to the office. Communicate a solid plan for reopening with employees and consider workplace strategies to foster employee engagement and wellness when workers need reassurance.

Allow Flexible Working Arrangements

Establishing flexible working arrangements is an essential benefit that allows a safe number of workers to transition back to the office and keep business productivity optimal. Permit a small amount of workers to return to the office while others remain remote. The number of on-site workers can be increased in increments to ensure proper social distancing procedures are enforced. Flexibility will relieve pressure for individuals with underlying health conditions and caretakers of family members with health concerns. Employees will feel appreciated when their personal lives and needs are a top priority. 

Leverage Technology to Ease Workloads 

Employee responsibilities and workloads have been compounded due to remote environments. Many workers may be feeling overwhelmed by the backlog of projects that are waiting for them upon return to the office. To prevent burn-out and alleviate workloads, implement intelligent automation to help workers meet demands and automate redundant and tedious work. For instance, workers spend precious time on data entry and analysis. It is very time consuming to comb through large amounts of unstructured data. However, intelligent automation can assist employees and reduce their burden by executing such time consuming business processes. This technology also reduces the risk of human error. It will help to give your workforce back valuable time to focus on business initiatives when it is most needed. 

Read: Gensler Q&A: What does the world’s largest design firm think about the transformation of workspaces post-COVID-19?

Provide Remote Communication Software

It is important to continue to provide teams with remote communication tools. Teams will continue to be distributed for some time to maintain a reasonable quantity of on-site workers. To keep distributed teams connected, provide communication software. Reliable video conferencing software is a must to give remote workers a way to telecommute to important business meetings. In addition, company wide chat software is essential to align your team and establish streamlined communication at all times.

Make Time for Personal Check-ins

Senior leaders, HR professionals, and managers should be readily available and transparent. They should take initiative to check-in personally with team members and inquire if there are any additional steps that can be taken to make returning to the office easier. Some workers are hesitant to voice challenges and ask for additional assistance. A simple phone call can make all the difference. There are ways to reach out personally in spite of busy schedules. Send an email to drop a note. Even better, include a survey via email that contains an option for individual feedback. This way employees can provide personal or anonymous suggestions to help make returning to work easier. 

Read: HR From the Home Office: Tips and learnings from the Coronavirus crisis

Stock Up On Supplies

Employees need to have access to cleaning supplies and protective gear. Distribute masks and disinfectants to workers. Keep a first aid kit labeled and easily accessible at all times. Remind employees of the resources they have available and encourage them to use them liberally. Put up signage to demonstrate safe social distancing procedures and indicate where essentials are located. 

Taking the extra steps to foster employee engagement and wellness when returning to the office is extremely important for corporate culture. Go above and beyond to help teams during uncertain times when they need it the most. Sometimes even simple gestures can change an employee’s personal life and career performance for the better. Having a plan for reopening will help your company recover from challenging times and boost employee satisfaction now and for the future. Gaining respect and building rapport is worth the time and investment.