The current pandemic has been nothing short of scary and confusing, leaving many people feeling uncertain and wondering what the future holds. With many people returning to work, there are a lot of fears and questions that employees may be asking. It’s essential to understand and address these concerns to ensure that all employees feel heard, safe, and comfortable as they return to work in such an unpredictable time. Below are some tips for addressing fears about returning to the workplace.
Be clear on new guidelines
Your company has likely had to come up with new guidelines about how your employees can work and interact with each other when in the workplace. If your office has new procedures such as social distancing recommendations or face covering requirements, be sure these are clear to all employees and anyone else who may enter the workplace.
Strategically placing signs as reminders can be an excellent way not only to remind employees of these new guidelines but also to make those who are most nervous feel more comfortable in knowing that the policies are clear and are to be enforced.
One of the first things to take on as your employees start returning to the workplace is to provide the information that they need to feel like they can safely return to work. A company-wide email and a memo are the right places to start. Providing as much information as possible about new guidelines, any changes being made moving forward (temporarily or permanently), and what your company is doing to keep it’s workforce safe can provide comfort to those who are nervous about their safety in returning to work.
Provide regular updates
With the ever-changing information about COVID, the guidelines and recommendations may change over time as they have in the past. Providing your employees with regular updates via email regularly can keep communication open and give reassurance that your company is on the pulse when it comes to ensuring their safety.
Expect questions and concerns
Even with providing information upfront, it’s likely that there will be people with questions and concerns. It’s also expected that some employees will have differing opinions about what guidelines are needed or appropriate. Prepare your employees that will be fielding these concerns with information to respond in a way that supports your company as well as addresses the fears of your employees positively.
Have a plan in place
Because of the pandemic and how quickly COVID can spread, ensure that you have a plan in place if one of your employees were to test positive for the virus. Make sure that your employees are aware of this plan and that your company will be swiftly and carefully enacting this plan, if necessary, to ensure their safety at all times.
No matter what precautions you take, it’s likely that you will have some employees that have quite a bit of fear when returning to work during the pandemic. Because fear is an intense emotion that can spread and affect a person’s work, it’s essential to do what you can to make sure your employees are aware of the precautions being taken in moving forward during the pandemic.