As we prepare to return to work employers are faced with both reopening and reimagining their businesses in an uncertain world, which means challenges – and possibilities.
Lockdown has meant different things to different businesses. Hospitality has experienced complete closure and furloughing, whilst an upsurge in demand for care services has seen fast tracked recruitment initiatives.
Yet, one thing all employers have in common is a need to plan for a new ‘uncertain’ normal. This is a period of transformation, where your business must go from surviving to thriving – and it starts with your staff.
At time of writing the government has advised that employees who cannot work from home should travel to work – although hospitality and non-essential retail remain closed. In practice that means making a risk assessment. With this is in mind, the CIPD urges employers to ensure they can meet three key tests before asking staff back to work:
- Is it essential? – If employees have to travel to work are their duties essential?
- Is it sufficiently safe? – Facilitating social distancing is your top concern. Remember, the HSE will be conducting spot checks – their COVID-19 guidance can be found here
- Is it mutually agreed? – Understand that staff may now have health issues, or caring responsibilities, which may affect them for some time. Liaise with them
NOTE: The CIPD’s risk assessment guide can be found here. In short, make sure returning to work works for everyone and embrace flexibility wherever possible.
From furloughed to frontline, employees have experienced lockdown differently too. The impact on their wellbeing isn’t to be underestimated. Acknowledging this will help promote workplace harmony and boost morale. Reassure your team about the future and point them in the direction of mental health support, so they know where to turn if they need it:
- Follow and share reputable sources – for example, Public Health England
- Clearly advertise any internal support services
- Refer people to specialist mental health resources – like Mind or the Mental Health Foundation
“This is a new work normal,” says Angel CEO Russell Crawford. “Remember communication is vital – even if that means admitting you don’t know all the answers right now.”
Indeed, it’s important to understand that nothing is the same. Which means, reorienting people with specialist training on their return – so they can familiarise themselves with how things work right now – this will be key to soothing employee anxieties, while helping ensure the business successfully transitions out of lockdown.
In their report Out Manoeuvre Uncertainty Accenture says employers may have been prioritising the unprecedented ‘Now’ but are fast turning to the very uncertain ‘Next’.
“From fluctuations in client demand to workforce productivity, agility will separate the thriving business from the just surviving business,” says Russell. Indeed planning is paramount, but where to start? Well, Angel Recruitment, can help you get:
- The secure remote working and recruitment technology you need
- Expert COVID-19 HR, health & safety and legal advice
- Access to frontline-experienced candidates (risk-free online bookings are available and you can cancel at no extra cost if your needs change)
“Transforming your business isn’t a luxury anymore,” emphasises Russell. “It’s a necessity. Enhancing your ability to respond promptly and painlessly to situation changes is the future.”
Changes to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions will be gradual and affect different sectors and teams differently. Keeping your staff informed will help ease anxiety and provide a sense of security in uncertain times. Show your employees they are valued and supported by prioritising their health, safety and wellbeing whilst ensuring the health of your business by planning for the ‘new normal’.
For more information and advice on supporting your team and transforming your workplace from a just surviving to thriving post-lockdown contact Angel Recruitment on 0207 940 2000 or email us at email@example.com