The lockdown has been lifted for a few months now, and the country has, by-and-large, reopened for business. But while many of the country’s office workers might have the facility to work from home, the same isn’t true of everyone. Moreover, those that do work from home might need to occasionally pay a visit to the business’s premises, whether to collect paperwork, or for a face-to-face chat.
Of course, workers are rightly concerned about the health risks of doing so. Simply forcing them to come back is going to generate resentment and ill-feeling. Few workers are going to work harder for a boss who doesn’t take their safety seriously.
So how can employers offer reassurance? Let’s take a look.
Explain Safety Measures
To make your workplace safer, you should have installed a range of safety measures. One-way systems, outlined in tape; hand-sanitizer available on every desk; Perspex screens separating one section of the office from another: all of these measures will play a role. They should not only be installed, but explained to the employees who’ll benefit from them.
Your explanation shouldn’t be a one-way monologue. As well as explaining what you’re doing to your staff, you should encourage your staff to offer their feedback. This is worthwhile for a number of reasons. First, it’ll offer reassurance that you’re taking concerns on-board. Second, it’ll help you to identify problem areas which you might have overlooked. Third, it’ll help to foster a more generalised culture of workplace communication, where everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves.
Offering Financial Assistance
It isn’t just health risks that employees might have to contend with. The pandemic, and the associated lockdown, will have impacted the finances of many households. Even if business is good for a given employee, they might find that their overall spending power has been harmed by the fortunes of the house’s other breadwinner.
Thus, it’s worth offering financial assistance. Carpooling schemes can save money – but in the age of Covid-19 they’re out of the question. Walking is free, green and healthy – but it isn’t practical for longer commutes. Rail travel could be a great alternative and you may wish to look at travelling at a quieter time of day. If you’re travelling on a train going towards Clapham, for example, then you might find that it’s more crowded at 8am than it would be at 10am.
Everyone’s circumstances are slightly different, and any leeway employers can provide is sure to be welcome. During conversations with employees, establish whether they can do their work from home, or whether adjusting their working hours earlier or later might help to make life easier. While this might not be possible in every circumstance, it’s often a step worth taking.