Return to Work
In July, Boris Johnson laid out a plan for a “significant return to normality” by Christmas, announcing that guidelines would be eased so employers could bring employees back to the workplace. From 1st August companies have the discretion to bring staff back to the office, in a move driven by the government to give people hope and businesses confidence.
Looking after employees’ mental health and wellbeing has been a challenge since the coronavirus outbreak started, and currently remains an ongoing one, particularly around managing employees’ anxieties regarding the return to the workplace.
As employers, you should be communicating the measures you are taking to keep employees safe, we recommended offering virtual office tours, so employees feel comfortable with the changes that have been implemented and know what to expect ahead of returning.
Prior to beginning a return to the office, we recommend having a well-thought out strategy identifying who should return and when. To ensure this feels manageable we have created a recommended phased approach in four stages:
Stage 1. Essential workers & specialists - This will more than likely mean those employees that cannot work remotely due to access to equipment or their work needs to take place at a specific site. Stage 2. Workplace optimisation & culture - those whose working environments don’t support home working (e.g. background noise or limited physical space) or those whose performance is better optimised working as a team together in one physical space. Stage 3. Workplace productivity & attitudes towards remote working - those who may or may not return based on organisational and employee preference. These choices will depend on employee personal circumstances, productivity and team collaboration experience. Stage 4. Availability of a COVID-19 vaccine - those with underlying health conditions that put them at risk or those within the high-risk age demographic may need to remotely work for the on the accessibility of a vaccine, and/or government health policy.
The large-scale work-from-home deployment due to the corona virus pandemic has shown it is possible to get work done not only remotely but on a variety of schedules that best accommodate people’s preferred working hours and personal commitments.
Employees expectations have risen and as you re-open your workplace, employers should anticipate pressure from employees to maintain this flexibility, particularly from those with children or who want to spend more time at home. We may see a potential shift in measures of performance from visibility and time spent at the desk to measuring output and results.
If your business requires support with returning employees to the workplace or developing flexible working policies, please do talk to us.
About Us – We enrich businesses by instilling our passion for developing people and organisations. Using our diverse experience and extensive knowledge, we flexibly support businesses with a pragmatic but personable approach to people management.
Disclaimer – The contents of this blog post do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only. We can only advise on the basis of specific client instructions and are unable to offer legal advice by email to anyone who are not our clients. To find out more about becoming a client of Lodge Court please talk to us..