Who could have suspected that your business would have to undergo such radical changes in 2020? Yet, through it all, your employees have conducted themselves with aplomb. They’ve shown grit, integrity, and adaptability. They’ve learned to manage their own productivity while working from home and have shown that they have the discipline and work ethic to ensure that your customers enjoy continuity in their service, even though your team can’t be on-site with you.

Now that some states are starting to ease lockdown measures, business owners across the country (and indeed the globe) are considering what sort of enterprises they want their employees to come back to. While the lockdown may be in place for some time, depending on your territory, if the lockdown has taught you anything- it’s the importance of bring proactive

Now is the perfect time to think about how you want your employees to feel when they walk through your doors again after months under lockdown. You’ll want them to feel energized and excited, for sure. You’ll want them to feel grateful for both their jobs and their workplace. You’ll want them to feel valued and respected. But above all, you’ll want them to feel safe. 

At a time when we’re all worried about our health and wellbeing, here are some ways in which you can ensure that your employees feel safe at work…

Go the extra mile to eliminate hazards

It goes without saying that every workplace needs to have a proactive approach to perceiving and eliminating hazards. But you can ensure that employees see safety everywhere they look from the moment they step into your parking lot. Little things like eliminating cracks and potential trip hazards in your concrete can go a long way towards helping customers to feel safe.

Visit a local company like K & E Flatwork if your parking lot of exterior concrete spaces need a little extra TLC. Make sure all interior trip hazards have been eliminated where possible and are clearly marked where impossible. Go beyond compliance frameworks and show that you’re committed to preventing hazards before they happen. 

Make their workspace more ergonomic

Your employees will likely have had to make do with improvised office furniture for months. Imagine their delight at the sight of brand new ergonomically adjustable chairs, desks, and other professional accouterments. 

Not only will they be able to foresee much more comfortable working days ahead, but they’ll be reminded that you’re committed to keeping them safe, happy, and comfortable while they’re under your roof. 

Establish clear social distancing measures

While your employees may be itching to return to work, they may also (understandably) be concerned about their safety in relation to the coronavirus. As companies around the country re-open, they are investing their efforts in a range of innovative measures to ensure social distancing in the workplace and safeguard the wellbeing of their employees. Wearable tech is already proving a tremendous boon while contact tracing apps can ensure that the virus is not allowed to spread within the workplace. 

While your employees may yearn for the opportunities to hug, high-five or shake hands with their employees, they can expect social distancing to be the norm for the foreseeable future. Still, at least they’ll be able to see their colleagues on a daily basis and enjoy the camaraderie that’s so difficult to recapture when working remotely.

Person, Kvinne, Asiatisk, Forretningskvinne, Arbeider

Share your successes 

These are very uncertain times for your employees. They are likely to worry about the safety of their jobs and their incomes. Now is the right time to reassure them as much as possible so that they’re not worrying about getting made redundant in a month’s time. Share your business’ successes. Celebrate clients and customers that you’ve managed to retain in these difficult times. Share how your marketing efforts have paid off and how you’ve managed to maintain the loyalty of your clientele at a time when they have every excuse to be fickle. 

Of course, it’s important to frame this as their accomplishment, thereby helping them to feel that their jobs and their livelihoods are secure. 

Help employees to feel that their contribution matters

Safety from the COVID-19 virus is not the only kind fo safety that your employees expect to experience at work. They also deserve to feel emotionally safe and supported. And while ensuring that their jobs and livelihoods are secure is a good first step, there are many ways in which you can also help them to feel emotionally safer.

Another effective way is by showing them that they are valued and how their everyday contribution to your business matters. 

A great way to do this is by using employee recognition platforms. These allow you to commend employees for their hard work, efforts, and achievements on a regular basis through a platform that looks and feels just like a social media app. As well as offering managerial recognition, these platforms can also allow employees to compliment one another on a job well done. 

This can help them to feel that their contribution matters and that they are still a valued member of the team. In an era where nothing seems certain, this can give them much-needed peace of mind. 

Consider phased re-introductions or prolonged remote working

There will likely be some among your team who simply don’t feel safe returning to work, no matter what preventative and protective measures you put in place. But if they have demonstrated an aptitude for remote working… why force them to leave the home?

You may want to consider phased re-introduction for employees while allowing some members of your team to continue to work from home. After an initial trial period, within which you can monitor their productivity while also establishing a track record for health and safety in the workplace, you can offer the opportunity to return to the workplace. 

Even if you don’t envisage reopening your business premises for a long time, now is the perfect time to start investing in an infrastructure that helps your employees to feel safe, happy and valued at work. You can be a much-needed pillar of stability in an extremely tumultuous time. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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