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Employees Returning To The Workplace? How Will You Get The Best Out Of Them?

Employees Returning To The Workplace? How Will You Get The Best Out Of Them?

The last couple of months have possibly been the most challenging your business has ever faced. The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown will likely have necessitated a lot of changes in a short space of time. You may have been forced to place some, or all, of your employees on furlough or risk going under. You may have had to reduce employee wages while also investing in the infrastructure to allow them to work from home. Your business has probably faced a significant dip in profits while also having to make sweeping operational changes on the fly. And that’s assuming you’ve been lucky enough not to lose any valued members of your team to the virus itself.

Still, they say that even the darkest clouds has a silver lining. And while the experience of the COViD-19  pandemic may have been devastating to your business, it’s also taught you a great deal. It’s taught you that you can respond to a crisis with strategic aplomb. It’s taught you that your customers are loyal to a fault, continuing to do business with you even in this financially challenging climate. But most of all, it’s proven a stark reminder of just how incredible a team you have. Your employees have adjusted to working from home with professionalism and determination. Although they’ve all (inevitably) grappled with their own logistical and emotional / psychological hurdles, they’ve made you proud. 

With some states relaxing lockdown measures and some businesses getting ready to welcome their employees back to the workplace, you’re likely thinking about when the day might come to bring your team back under your roof. While nobody can make this decision for you, it’s the perfect time to think about what you can do to make sure that you get the most out of your team when they return…

Invest in their environment

There’s never been a better time to reevaluate the physical environment to which your employees will be returning. Do you want them to feel as though they’re coming back to business as usual? Or do you want them to feel like they’re returning to a business that’s better than usual? 

Think about how you want them to feel when they arrive at your premises for the first time in months. Do you still want them to see the damaged concrete in the parking lot, the cracked and chipped paintwork in the lobby or the worn upholstery on their chairs? Or will you check out https://www.keflatwork.com/concrete-repair-replacement/ to make your concrete safer and more beautiful to look at than ever? Will you invest in new, more ergonomically adjustable office furniture and a more pleasing aesthetic? Will you flood your workspace with plants and make sure that your team has better access to natural light? Will you ensure that their workspace is cleaner, tidier and more conducive to productivity than ever? 

This is a once in a lifetime chance to make a first impression on your employees for the second time. 

Train and develop them

Your employees have demonstrated that they are hard working, adaptable and proactive. You can reward them by showing them that you value their skills. You can help them to achieve their career dreams within your organization so that they’ll never be inclined to find the fulfilment that they seek elsewhere. 

Training and development are essential for employee retention. Not only should they be constantly learning new skills to improve their capability and confidence in their current roles, they should be learning new skills to help prepare them for upward or lateral progression within your organization.

When you invest in training and development for your employees, you show them that you’re invested in them as people, not just in the set of discrete functions they perform for your business. 

Offer them flexibility

The necessity of working from home has likely proven challenging to your employees in a number of ways. But it may also have proven liberating in others. While managing their own productivity probably hasn’t been easy (especially when they’ve been sharing a network with the whole family and catering to the needs of their little ones), they may have noticed other benefits. Like the flexibility to divide their time effectively between work and family. Not to mention the hours gained throughout the week by not needing to commute to work. 

As such, some of your employees may actually request that they continue to work from home on a part-time or full-time basis, even when the lockdown has been lifted. If you can grant them this, they may be a lot happier and more productive in the long term. 

Of course, that’s not the only way in which you can give your employees flexibility. Granting them flexitime, staggering start and finish times and allowing them to earn or accrue vacation days or hours can all help them to better manage their work / life balance.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Show them you’re invested in their health and wellbeing

Current events have made us all extra conscious of our health, and what we should be doing to maintain it. We’re all exercising more, eating more wholesome foods and getting more sleep (as challenging as that may be at times) to ensure that our immune systems are firing on all cylinders. 

Any helping hand you can give to help your employees feel healthier can make a huge difference to their wellbeing. And 93% of business owners believe that happy, healthy employees are inherently more productive.

Some great ways to keep your team healthy include;

  • Giving discounted offerings for local gyms (when they reopen they’ll be glad of the traffic).
  • Storing and preparing healthier foods in your break room and cafeteria including a wealth of plant-based options. 
  • Encouraging walking or cycling to work.
  • Making sure that they get away from their desks for at least a few minutes every hour. Too much sitting can place a lot of strain on our vital organs and make us more vulnerable to weight gain, cardiovascular disease and even diabetes. 
  • Implement team building trips and activities to improve relationships between colleagues and ensuring that even busy working days are conducive to good mental health and personal fulfilment. 

Give them recognition and rewards

Speaking of fulfilment, employee recognition is essential in helping employees to feel motivated, engaged and happy when spending their days with you. In an era where 85% of all employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work, a little recognition goes a long way. Even taking the time to say a sincere and heartfelt “thank you” in person can help employees to feel more pride and engagement in their work. 

If, however, you want a more structured approach to employee recognition, you could try using an employee recognition platform. These are digital apps that look and handle just like social media platforms. In fact, Facebook even has its own employee recognition platform called Workplace. 

These can be used by managers to congratulate individuals or teams on their accomplishments. They can also be used for peer-to-peer recognition, to allow employees to commend one another on a job well done. They can even be tied into your existing reward and incentive programs, allowing employees to earn anything from high street gift vouchers to paid vacation days. Whatever matters the most to them. 

You have the power to transform your employee experience when your team returns to work. The changes you make today ould usher in a new era of productivity and profitability for your organization! 

Get your team excited about going back to work!

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