Updated: Sep 14, 2020
There is so much to consider as we move from lock-down into a new phase of the pandemic! Many people are experiencing anxiety and apprehension and others a more relaxed attitude to the situation. As leaders it would be great to understand each person’s feelings prior to the change. Help them to understand the proposed changes and how they can support others.
Questions to ask your team
Are you able to return to work?
What issues would get in the way? EG childcare, transport
How do you feel about returning to work?
How can we help you overcome the issues?
Are you happy to work from home?
What are you looking forward to?
How can we help you with the transition? What do you need?
Offer reassurance to each employee
Create a handout for the new operating practices
Send to each employee the video of the new office layout and how they should move around the workspace, reassure the team that the workspace has been deep cleaned
Ask for any areas of the workspace they feel would be an issue – use the power of the team brain
Arrange different start times if the entrance is compact to allow social distancing
Source face masks – it is the employer’s responsibility to provide H&S equipment
Source hand sanitiser: it should be available throughout the building
Encourage regular hand washing – put signs up around the workspace to remind the team
Clean every surface thoroughly prior to anyone coming back into the workspace/office
Create a cleaning schedule to maintain a clean and hygienic space – more regular cleaning of high traffic area’s E.G. door handles, banisters and kettles etc. Provide cleaning equipment
Plan the office or workspace layout with 2m distancing – remove chairs from empty desks to ensure 2m spacing exists during office hours
Meeting rooms: can you create 2m distancing? If not lock the meeting rooms
Plan the route through the office to enable social distancing while moving
Video the new office layout and how people need to navigate a route – send to each employee ahead of their return to work
Where will the team eat: consider the cleanliness, location, and timings for people to remove masks for eating
Mugs and utensils – discuss with the team if they would like to bring their own in for personal use
As you transition some people in your team will be happy to continue to work from home and others will want to return to a "normality", there feelings may change on day 1 and continue to change as time progresses. This is not the time to enforce change, work with the team to create a positive change. As leaders we have this opportunity to show our support and respect to each person, be mindful everyone feels different at different times during change.