COVID-19. Are you thinking of re-opening your workplace?
Where do you start and what should you consider?
If you are thinking of re-opening your working there are a number of areas you will need to consider. This extends not only to social distancing and hygiene measures but also managing staff concerns and being mindful of their mental health.
We have never been in this situation before and there is no precendent set as to what businesses should, or need to do.
Regardless of long-term strategy decisions about flexible and hybrid working, whilst social distancing remains necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many workplaces will need at least an interim hybrid approach, with a mix of home and office-based working in the short term. The Government is currently predicting that employees will be required to work from home wherever possible until at least late June 2021. Depending on the prevalence of the virus at that time, organisations will need to make their own decisions about when and how employees may return safely to offices.
Organisations may wish therefore to plan for interim hybrid working in the short term whilst also considering longer term strategic decisions on more flexible forms of working. This short-term version of hybrid working may be somewhat different to its longer-term counterpart.
Depending again on the prevalence of the virus, as well as government advice, there may still be some employees who are clinically more vulnerable to COVID-19 or waiting for a vaccine. This means some employees may need to be 100% remote for a further period of time, while others are able to return for some or part of the working week.
Now may be a good time to consult with department heads and staff because one solution may not fit all areas of your business.
Key steps towards introducing hybrid working might include:
- Agreeing an overall strategic position on hybrid working for your organisation and development of a policy
and supporting guidance reflecting the strategy.
- Defining hybrid working with regard to the specific organisational context. This might include several
different forms of hybrid working within your organisation, depending on role requirements.
- Engaging managers throughout your organisation, providing an opportunity to ask questions and raise
concerns, as well as the provision of training and development to support successful hybrid working.
- Development of a communication plan to share plans for future hybrid working with all of your employees,
including information on how to request hybrid working.
- Planning for and responding to the organisational implications of hybrid working on areas such as
technology, employee wellbeing, inclusion and facilities.
- Supporting effective team building and creativity and cohesion in hybrid teams.
If you would like to talk about how to set about re-opening your workplace, please contact me for advice and assistance.