With the world slowly returning to normal following the gradual easing of lockdown measures, the attention of many business leaders is on the return of their employees to the workplace.
Is the office space COVID-secure? Are there procedures in place to ensure that staff members feel comfortable? What will happen to the typical workplace ‘banter’ employees will have come accustomed to?
These are all questions many employers will have found themselves asking over recent weeks and months. After all, it is their key responsibility to protect the health and safety of their staff. If they don’t, the result could be catastrophic not only in terms of staff retention but productivity as well.
So, how can employers safeguard against this, ensuring the productivity levels of their employees remain as they were, if not better than before the COVID-19 outbreak?
Well, that’s where we come in. Utilizing project management tools such as ClickUp helps you plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage your resources in a centralized workspace where you can communicate and collaborate with team members whether they have returned to the office, or are now working remotely.
Join us as we run through some effective ways for employers to improve their staff’s productivity while transitioning back into post-COVID office life.
Redesign Your Workplace
With the 6 feet (2-meter) social distancing measures in place, it’s safe to say the workplace is going to look very different when workers return.
Employers will now need to ensure the workplace is kept as COVID-secure as possible, whether that be through a thermal camera on employees’ entrance at work, desks being situated a safe distance apart, or holding lunch breaks on a one-by-one basis.
But why should they stop there?
Many workers enjoy being able to concentrate while at work, away from any distractions they may come across outside or while at home.
Employers should consider implementing strategies around this idea when it comes to redesigning the office. One UK manufacturer, Smartlouvre, suggests utilising MicroLouvre glazed partitioning to ensure privacy in the office, as it “provides a new and exciting dimension to high-performance glass aesthetics, designed to maximise both appearance and function”.
Clean the Office
While it may sound fairly obvious, having a clean office environment can do wonders to the productivity levels of staff – and now more than ever.
Since we have recently been in the midst of a global pandemic, everyone’s sense of hygiene and personal health has been heightened exponentially.
Workers will now be more conscious of the environment they’re having to work in – the dirtier it is, the less comfortable they’ll feel, and the less productively they’ll work as a result.
From the printer to the phone, the mouse to the keyboard, the cooler to the kettle, there are numerous germ hotspots throughout the office, so employers need to keep them clean.
Also, hand sanitizer and antibacterial hand gel should be made available at all times to combat the spread of disease, regardless of whether it’s coronavirus or not.
Communicate With Your Team
After many months of self-isolating, employees will rightly want to know what’s been going on with the business throughout lockdown.
Since the pandemic came about so suddenly, many organizations were caught off guard and forced to constantly alter their strategy in order to stay afloat.
That’s not to mention the overwhelming effect of the furlough scheme as well. Many staff who were furloughed during the lockdown will likely now feel out of the loop, seeking reassurance and clarification on what the business’s aims now are post-COVID-19.
Employers need to tell their staff this information. Nobody – whether it be an employer or employee – enjoys being left in the dark. Only by working together as a team can staff be expected to want to work productively for a company.
Moreover, some businesses will have had no choice recently but to rethink their working approach, in terms of both the services they offer and how their internal processes are run. It’s important, therefore, to consider how staff will respond to these changes.
Say, for example, a particular company decided to adopt ClickUp’s all-in-one productivity software during lockdown to streamline all its processes and remove the need for multiple apps. When it comes to transitioning back into the office, that company’s staff will now need time to get up to speed with the new software, which will only be possible if an effective communication channel is in place.
While on the topic of effective communication, business leaders will need to be completely open and transparent with their staff.
Employees aren’t stupid, after all. They will recognise how trying the period has been that the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it, and the economic uncertainty that’s set to follow in the coming months and years.
Therefore, they have the right to know the nitty-gritty details of how their place of work has been impacted.
Whether it be a huge decline in revenue, profitability, clients or staff members, the more honest an employer is with their staff, the more motivated their employees will be to work harder to get them back to where they were before the pandemic, or even beyond!
As mentioned already, staff have had a tough time of it lately due to the lockdown and – whether employers like it or not – sometimes personal life has to take priority over work.
Leaders need to set an example for their workers, listening to their needs, and allowing them to work in a way they feel comfortable with.
If an employee needs to work from home two days a week to fit their child’s nursery opening times, for example, then they should be allowed to. Chances are, they will work harder and faster as a way of thanking their employer for listening and allowing them to work around their personal life.
Likewise, if an employee doesn’t feel comfortable coming into the office, employers should give them the freedom to work from home or reassure their concerns by ensuring the office space is kept as COVID-secure as possible.
So, there you have it: five key ways to ensure staff work as productively as possible when returning to the workplace.
In essence, it all comes down to ensuring they feel comfortable. If they don’t, and they are worrying about the risk being back at work could pose on their family or friends, their focus won’t be on the task at hand. That means their productivity will suffer as a result.
By implementing an open and honest means of communication between workers, staff will soon feel a lot more motivated to work at their best, allowing all thoughts of Coronavirus to be left at the office door.
Need a remote work OS to help your team be productive? Create a free account with ClickUp today!