We have all heard and read that the working environment is not likely to be the same as we left it. Every employee has had to cope with a different situation depending on whether they continued working from home or were furloughed. In addition, every employee will have had a different home life structure whether this is homeschooling, small working environments, difficulty with technology, being a carer, or even losing a loved one. Therefore, employers need to recognise that things will have changed and take this into account when moving forward over the next couple of months. 
Here are 5 things worth considering to assist the easing of staff returning back to the workplace:- 

1. Communicate 

Speak to your employees and gain their view on the situation as this will be crucial for making the new norm a success for your business moving forward. The best way to gain views is to hold 1-1 meetings with each employee to ascertain how they have coped over the last few months. Do not assume that if your employee has continued working, that they have told you how they have been feeling. 

2. Reassure 

Reassure them that their health and safety is priority for you – share your latest risk assessment with them. Discuss in detail all the measures that you have put in place to ensure the workplace is secure. Ask them for their view and if they still have any concerns about returning to the workplace.  

3. Inform 

Provide an update on any additional measures you have put in place like staggering start and finish times, additional handwashing requirements, reducing the numbers in the kitchen area etc.  

4. Adapt 

Consider how you are going to manage the working environment and whether you want to make some permanent changes like reducing office space or allowing employees greater flexibility regarding their normal place of work. Consider if it would be useful to have extra leisure space for the team within the office.  

5. Plan 

Have a contingency plan in case things change again. Review your IT security policies to make sure that they adequately cover remote working, taking into account applying IT updates and secure password protocols. Finally, if homeworking is going to continue, then you will need to carry out consultation as this will be a variation to contract.  
In summary, treat it like a ‘mini-induction – returning back into the workplace’. Please do not hesitate to contact daxa@hrresultsltd.co.uk if you would like to discuss the plan you would like to put in place. Taking HR from 'TO DO' to 'DONE'. 
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