Current Situation of Employers & Employees
The uncertainty in the effect of this virus, several employers have not yet asked their employees to come back to the office however certain employers have asked their employees to come back and start working from the office.
In these uncertain times, one thing is clear, working from the office is more efficient, smoother and safe than working from home. Even though there are some employees who would not want to return to the workplace. That is what we will discuss here: employees' concerns about going back to the office and how employers can address them.
Concerns of Employees on Returning to Workplace
Below we have mentioned some of the concerns that employees have about returning to the workplace.
1.Worried About Getting Infected
We all know that the pandemic is not entirely over. We get to see the news of the outbreak of the new variant. Hence some of the employees feel concerned about getting infected during their commute to the office every day.
2.Exposing Family to Virus
Since this virus is easily communicable, the employees are worried about infecting their family members. In case they have elders living with them such as grandparents then it becomes a major point to worry.
It is likely that several employees go to their offices using public transport. No matter how hard one tries, it is not possible to maintain proper social distance during the commute through public transport hence increasing their chance of getting exposed to the coronavirus.
While working from home employees became comfortable and their work timing got flexible. They started maintaining their official work and homework according to their comfortability and created a work-life balance on their own. However, some employees won’t be very keen on returning back to office and lose that flexibility.
When the government announced a lockdown and offices were closed and employees were sent back to work from home they had clear out of their rented places and go back to their homes. It saved their living and commute expenses. But when the offices resume, they will have to again shift back and look for a new place to rent which will be a challenge for them economically and socially.
Working from home cut down several expenses for the employees such as transportation expenses, food, rent, etc. While working remotely employees saved a lot however, this expenditure will resume when they will be called back to the office.
How Employers Can Take Care of These Things?
Here are some of the things employers can do to take care of these concerns and encourage their employees to resume working from the office.
Employers must maintain basic hygiene in the workplace by following these steps.
- Make sure to follow Covid-19 protocols according to the guidelines of WHO.
- Make sure to check every employee’s temperature at the entry point of the office premise.
- If possible, get Covid-19 tests done after a particular period of time.
- Make sure that every employee maintains social distance and wears a mask.
- Reorganize your office space so that employees can maintain social distance while working and do not sit too close to each other.
2.Listen to Your Employees
Employees might have reservations related to coming back to work from office. What you as an employer can do is convince them to come back without enforcing them.
- The office management can set up a virtual meeting where they should explain why employees should come back to the office.
- The office management can have discussions on the apprehensions of the teams and conclude to the steps that would help and convince the employees to get back to the office.
- The HR department can also send emails to the employees and ask them to share their concerns and suggestions anonymously.
These things can help them chalk out a plan to address employees' concerns. However, all the problems cannot be solved but some can. For example.
- If the employees hesitate traveling by public transport, employers can provide exclusive bus services.
- A hybrid working model can also help employees where they can come on alternative days.
- Employers can also offer the cost of commute if that is a concern.
3.Open Office Gradually
If the employees are hesitating to come to the office immediately, employers can open the office in phases.
- The employers should call out the top management of the company and then slowly work their way down the lower management and associates.
- Start calling the employees whose work has been compromised during the work from home such as the IT department as the offices have better computer systems than homes.
- Employees observe the safety measure taken for their safety. This will make them more confident about going back to the office.
4.Readjust & Reacquaint
To call out employees to the workplace, employers will have to re-acclimate them and get them to reacquaint with colleagues.
- Make employees familiar with new office norms and arrangements made for their safety and convenience.
- Many of the employees might have changed mentally during the lockdown so create such an environment where an old employee can help the new one get connected with the team members.
- Make employee engagement better than ever to make them feel more connected to the workplace.
5.Offer Different Benefits
Companies can offer several benefits to their employees so that they can go through the transition smoothly.
- Offer better group health insurance planto the employees and include Covid-19 cover too.
- Offer travel expenditure to the employees to compensate for their daily transportation.
- If possible then offering crèche benefits to the employees with nuclear families, who do not have another arrangement for their children.
The whole world has been through the worst of situations during the lockdown and pandemic. A lot has changed in the last 2 years and employers have to make new arrangements and strategies to call their employees back to the office and help them adapt to this change.