The fear of COVID-19 is far from over. Still, with inoculations in progress and new virus strains, business organisations globally are pursuing to figure out the best ways of return to work in the post-pandemic world. With COVID-19 having brought unprecedented humanitarian challenges, it is evident that we cannot go back to the way we did things in a pre-COVID world.
Organisations are putting the lessons learnt over the past year to best use to reimagine workplaces. Concentrating on creating safe and enjoyable workplaces will ensure productivity and nurture talent within organisations.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the need of the hour is exceptional change-management skills with empathy as a cornerstone as employees return to work.
Here are three C’s that can aid the return of employees while advancing the goals and strategies of the organisation.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, technology has proved to be a strategic and dependable arsenal to build operational agility and scale. Digital collaboration tools ensured utmost efficiency in the remote working environment. Amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, these tools also helped us achieve a semblance of work-life balance.
As we return to office, technology and digital support will continue to play a pivotal role in the workspace of the future. The primary purpose of an organisation in this next normal is to permeate a culture of collaboration and build greater resilience. They will achieve this goal by combining the efficiency of collaborative tools with the effectiveness of in-person interactions.
Commitment to health and safety
The health and safety of employees can be second to none. Companies need to build and communicate clear strategies about the return to work with a fact-based approach as a trust-building exercise.
The key to this exercise may be to disseminate clear compliance with standard operating procedures as per the local authorities’ rules. Ensuring health and safety issues by making shift adjustments, providing social distancing and sanitisation of on-site employees and encouraging or facilitating vaccinations for all are positive measures.
Finally, it is imperative to have a contingency plan for medical support or hospitalisation if there are positive cases despite preventive measures.
Communication with courage
COVID-19 has taken a toll on the mental health of employees worldwide. While the anxieties and uncertainties will take time to overcome, the onus is to engage and strengthen overall connections with employees recognising and addressing their fears.
Clear and inspiring communication by leaders and senior management alongside simultaneous team building or upskilling activities may help employees make a transition into a new world. The key is to assure employees that we are all in it together – acknowledge and accept the changes of the year gone by, make the requisite transition and finally be hopeful and look towards a brighter future.
COVID-19 has created an unprecedented upheaval in our personal and professional lives. In this transitionary phase, employees returning to work can be a powerful source of motivation. Future ready organisations are walking the extra mile in creating a reassuring and familiar environment.