Return to Workplace
This is the contention that we are dealing with at the moment amidst the Covid-19 pandemic which is definitely not an inaugural pandemic that the world is facing. But what makes it challenging is that Covid-19 is the first pandemic of its kind that is expected to have an indelible, deep-rooted, transformational, and life-changing impact on the topography of work.
As we sally forth to take advantage of the relaxation in lockdown to commence work, all of us are undeniably envisioning how the workplace would conjure up when we step in. After many months of unpredictability and contingency, finally, when many employers have given a nod to office homecoming, this decision of theirs has reached an impasse with many people still oscillating wildly at the moment whether to opt or not opt for return to office.
There could be a multitude of reasons, be it relishing better productivity at home or working in an environment of autonomy, or saving time on commutes, or maybe just staying close to loved ones to ensure their health and safety, whatever the reason is, it is time for employers to respond to this pertinent question –
What to Do if Your Team Doesn’t Want to Go Back To Office?
I am sure, lot many leaders would be experiencing this perturbation in today’s scenario. But there definitely has to be a middle path inscribed and a win-win situation imprinted. While there are myriad ways to make this happen, I would like to cast down a few workable cues which might galvanize the decision to return to work:
Iron Out Their Whys and Hows and Tell Them That We are Manoeuvring the Complexities of This “New Normal” Together.
There cannot be an iron-fisted comeback, else people might just leave for the millions of companies worldwide that are opting for remote work full time. Simply let people know that there is no going back to pre-Covid times – so the only option is to move forward to an untrodden future that can be carved with a thoughtful design.
- Create a value proposition and make sure you know how it will be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. Share your plans with them before Day 1 of return, share the outlook of business as to why return to work is a priority and explain them the revised working norms.
- Personalized letter should look like – “Welcome back! While you will notice various changes in the way the workplace looks as well as new practices and protocols adopted, it is all for your safety. We are in this together, and while navigating this pathway, always remember we are here to support you.”
- Answer these questions – What actions have been taken to safeguard my personal safety? What are the sanitation protocols defined for work tools, workspaces, and common areas? What arrangements have been made to facilitate physical distancing, such as staggering work schedules? What arrangements have been made for mental health support? What provisions have been made to obtain health care if I get diagnosed with Covid-19? What provisions are in place for a quarantine location so I do not have to go home and put my family at risk?
- Provide virtual demonstrations – Create educational and instructive videos testifying modifications to arrival protocols, sanitation requirements, workstation requirements, building access, security protocols, meeting protocols, visitor access, interior signage, distancing norms, and infection mitigation practices.
Build Your Own Strategy Based on Best Practices by Companies Worldwide
|Nature of Company||Incentives and Allowances offered for Return to Work|
|Software||An everyday remittance of $75 to cover transportation costs which include personal vehicle administration or public transportation.|
|Investment Banking||Ten days of care for each employee apart from the twenty days that is already regularly accessible every year. The organization even offers financiers a free takeaway breakfast and lunch.|
|Investment Management||Covering taxi fare for employees to commute to workplace|
|Financial Services||In-house app for senior staff to gift parking space to juniors i.e. a cell phone application that permits senior employees to give parking spaces to youngsters who are driving in.|
|Workplace Solutions||“Lunch is on us” campaign by offering free lunch vouchers valid in cafes and sandwich shops and restricted to working days only.|
|Real Estate||Randomly awards $10,000 each day to a vaccinated employee who returned to a physical office. Also awarding vacations via the company’s private plane.|
|Electronics||Concept of “mud room” with hand sanitizers and touchless lockers where employees answer questions on a health-check app and get a temperature reading via an iPad screen. The employee then checks a digital display that indicates who is in the office and stationed at which workstation. Plants on walls contribute to air quality and emotional well-being.|
|General provisions by other companies||• Workplace parking as a tax-exempt benefit covering parking at the employer’s car park or the cost|
of parking at a public car park
• Extra childcare
• Gift cards and other small tokens
• Subsidized meals
• Discounted Uber rides
• Defined budget for gloves, sanitizers, masks, oxygen meter, etc.
• Access to a team of doctors 24×7
• Enhancing medical insurance beyond hospitalization
• Dedicated 24 hour in-house team to assist with logistics (ambulance & medicines), medical
(consultation, home testing) and counselling support for employees
• Advance interest-free loan for Covid emergency
It is all about making our people feel safe and letting them know that employers are open to listening whenever they voice out their apprehensions and fears about going to work and render an amicable solution. Let us not carve return to workplace policy in stone; rather evolve it together during the journey!