Bringing staff back to work

We’re moving slowly out of lockdown, and it’s time to start thinking about the practicalities and how the decisions your make now affect the speed at which your business recovers and weathers the recession that inevitably lays ahead.

There’s lots to think about, from cashflow planning to how the shift in market demand will affect your go-to-market strategy.  We’ve focussed this piece specifically around bringing staff back to work, and we hope you find it useful.  If you are facing specific challenges, and you’d like our advice, please do get in touch as we’d be very glad to offer our perspective.

Here’s our 12 point checklist:

1. Conduct a risk assessment, for every role in the business. It’s important to think about each role, considering whether it can be done remotely. If the role cannot be performed from home, identify the steps you can take to mitigate risk. Can you make use of Microsoft Teams or Zoom for online meetings allowing the avoidance of travel? Does PPE equipment need to be provided?  Do you need signage for the building or a new H&S policy?

2. Conduct a 1:1 with every member of the team. Talk personally to your team members, ask how they are feeling without judgement or opinion. Be understanding of any nervousness around returning to work. Find out if they have any underlying issues that you should. be aware of – either for them personally or loved ones at home.  What you learn should be factored in to your return to work approach.

3. Demonstrate high standards of hygiene, everywhere. It’s vital that the work environment is spotlessly clean at all times. Consider doing a deep clean prior to the first day back and regularly thereafter. Buy in plenty of hand gels, bleach, wet wipes and anything else which will give your staff extra confidence.

4. Stay Informed. Ensure you’re always fully up to date on the latest government guidelines. Publish the guidelines and communicate openly with the entire team. It’s important for everyone’s safety and peace of mind that awareness is high.

5. Consider staggering team working times. Do you need to bring everyone back at once? Think about dividing the team if appropriate.  Make it fun, create team names and a rota for the working days and times. This huddle-approach is also being used in schools, and keeps groupings smaller and consistent.

6. Remain open, transparent and considerate. Reflect on the things you learned in the return to work 1:1s and individual risk assessment conversations. Make decisions transparently.  Your team probably each have very different pressures and concerns. Having a structured approach is good, but keep decisions you make on an individual basis so that you don’t overlook personal circumstances.

7. If staff can work from home, let them do this. Of course the preference is to rebuild the team as soon as possible, but if members of your team can work effectively when remote-based, then allow them to do this.  Show them that you trust them, and value their work more than the venue or timeframe it’s carried out in.  Their engagement and productivity will soar.  Read our blog about managing remote staff here.

8. Conduct a staff engagement survey. Living through a pandemic and the lockdown period has been challenging for us all, and everyone will have had varying experiences and life pressures. Engagement scores will likely be unpredictable and unlike any other survey you’ve run previously, but it’s best to draw a line in the sand to use as a benchmark on which to move forward.  Here’s a few tips to boost staff engagement in a recent blog.

9. Conduct a review. Are you leadership skills and engagement methods have the right effect? Perform regular 1:1 meetings, and really listen to how staff are feeling.  How are they finding the working conditions you’ve created?  Do they have the necessary resources to perform their role?  What would make their life easier?  Would they benefit from team building, training or some coaching?

10. Revisit your company vision.  Does it still apply, or could it do with a re-fresh?  Best practise is to involve the entire team in building a vision that will make them bounce out of bed in the morning.  Alignment is critical for success, as you need everybody to buy-in and commit to the actions.

11. Invest in some team building. Now is not the time for frivolously wasting budget, but investing in team building can boost performance and productivity by up to 50% (sometimes more if things were pretty bad to begin with).  We have designed the VIP Programme to support teams who want to re-build their Vision, and Involve the entire team in Planning for a success future.

12.  Say thank you.  We mustn’t under-estimate the affect that the pandemic has had on us all.  Saying thank you to your team for their patience, understanding and commitment will go a long way.

If you think that development of Leadership Skills in your business, is something that would helpful, then please do check out how we can support you with this here.

And don’t forget about our VIP Programme

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