Beyond lockdown: Do employees fear returning to work?

Friday May 29, 2020

If your business has been interrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we know that you may be eager to reopen or scale up operations as soon as possible.

Perhaps you have already been in touch with employees about their return to work since the recent ease in lockdown restrictions?

Last week marked phase one in the Government’s recovery road map for reopening society and businesses. The guidance stated that outdoor workers can begin a phased return to work from 18th May, subject to social distancing. Phase two is expected to commence on 8th June and will see more workers allowed to return to work.

With much of life having been put on hold since the pandemic began, we understand the relief this statement will have brought many employers who are keen to get back to business.

However, bringing employees back to work may not be so straightforward.

Fear of returning to work

Employers may find that not all employees are so keen to restart their daily commute back to work.

As although we are past the peak of the virus, a heightened threat level remains in place and some people may feel anxious about re-entering society after time in isolation.

Understanding how best to manage this can improve the chances of having employees transition back to work smoothly. It can also save time on day one when you need people to be in place and their attention to be on work.

The following can help to provide peace of mind for both you and your employees as we move through the second stage of recovery and see some sectors start to revive.

Making the business COVID secure

Social distancing and frequent handwashing continue to be fundamental in controlling the spread of the virus, but there is much more to be understood when it comes to making the workplace COVID secure.

Employers will need to follow the latest public health advice and implement suitable control measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection in the workplace. A COVID risk assessment can help to identify the necessary safety measures required before reopening the workplace.

Sharing your actions as a result of your risk assessment can help to calm employees’ nerves about returning to work.

Helping employees to cope

Providing access to a very low cost Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) will help your staff and it also protects your business, talk to us to find out more because Mental health is just as important as physical health, everyone has it and needs to take care of it. The EAP ensures your responsibilities as an employer are covered.

Adapting to the ‘new normal’

Employees may wish to avoid public transport if social distancing cannot take place. Naturally, this could impact their ability to get to work on time, which can create added pressure during an already stressful time.

You may like to consider flexible working or staggered shifts to help employees with their journey back into work.

We know that ultimately you would like employees to be back in work and raring to go when the time comes. Just remember that they could be returning to a very different way of working. Some care and consideration can help to see employees happy, healthy, and working well. If you have questions about best practice HR when bringing employees back to work, ask us.


Preventing People Problems

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