Article written by: Jamie Rickman, exclusively for eco.ca
A year after businesses had to shift to remote working due to the pandemic companies are considering a return-to-the-office scheme for employees. As with the change to remote working, the shift back to on-site working may not be simple for everyone and could require an adjustment period. With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to help prepare your employees as they return to the office.
Have a routine cleaning and sanitation strategy
Aside from reminding everyone to always wash their hands and wear their masks, there should still be a sanitation strategy in place.
Cleaning using soap and detergent helps to remove contaminants while disinfecting helps to kill the virus. High-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas should be cleaned multiple times a day.
Design your office for productivity
Many employees needed to make huge adjustments when they switched from office working to working from home — and now they’ll have to do it once again. Ensuring employees have access to ergonomic workplaces can help ease the transition.
An ergonomic workspace means a space where employees can work comfortably without putting excess strain on their body especially when working long hours. Ensuring office chairs are ergonomic is a good start as they encourage and support good posture. Ergonomic chairs can help minimize long-term damage that can arise from poor posture.
Standing desks, or the ability to convert a desk to a standing desk, are also useful. Being able to alternate between the two with a standing desk converter can help relieve the aches and pains of sitting down while boosting cardiovascular health, digestion, and lung capacity.
Prioritize employees’ mental health
Some employees may still feel stress, isolation, and anxiety arising from the pandemic; you’ll need to as understanding as you can.
Consider offering more flexibility and the option to continue working from home on some days as a way of prioritizing employee’s mental health. Chances are, they may be taking care of other family members too. For instance, working parents may be busy assisting their kids with online schooling, or providing support to other family members.
During this time, a little empathy goes such a long way.
Have a transition period
An ergonomic workspace isn’t enough to immediately make employees as productive as they were before the pandemic. Going back to the office full time will likely be jarring and overwhelming for some, so it’s better to have a gradual transition.
Start with giving them work on-site just one or two days a week and see how it goes from there. Keep in mind, however, that some employees may take longer than others to achieve optimal productivity as they return.
Following these steps can help make your employees’ return to the workplace easier on both them and you which is beneficial for increasing productivity and overall employee happiness. For more HR advice, take a look at our HR services.