As our thoughts turn to returning to the office or creating a hybrid way of working, here are some pointers to begin the process of bringing people back to the workplace:
- Survey your employees or run focus groups with them
- Ask other companies about their working practices and health and safety measures
- Find out what the current procedures are for security and cleaning in your workplace
- Visit the office premises to establish possible risks (surfaces, stairwells, kitchen area etc)
- Keep updated with the latest guidance and seek professional advice if necessary
- Collate the feedback from your people
- Create a plan for your people with relevant actions
- Complete a risk assessment document and share it internally
- Create FAQs for those returning to the office
- Consider how you can ensure the safety – both physical and psychological – of your employees
- Complete the actions from the risk assessment
- Set dates for those who are returning to the office, perhaps in phases
- Decide who will be responsible for the employees who return to the office
- Share all information prepared with employees before they return
- Throughout the whole process, regularly communicate with everybody including those on furlough, maternity leave, long term absence etc.
- Create a central place for all your communications and keep it updated
- Make sure there is a way for people to share their ongoing questions and suggestions such as a forum, a designated email address, a suggestion box or an app.
- Keep everyone updated in a variety of ways, such as leadership briefings, 1:1 calls, podcasts, virtual team gatherings etc
- Respond to all questions asked
- Signpost other support available (e.g. Cruse, Mind etc)
- Keep yourself briefed with the latest advice from gov.uk
- Regularly evaluate the safety measures you have in place
- Is the level of cleaning enough?
- What is the feedback from your employees?
- Are your risk assessment/policy/checklists still fit for purpose?
- Think about what may have changed and what needs to be changed.
If you have any questions or enquiries about how you can create a plan for safely returning your employees to work please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.