It feels like we’ve discussed this so many times over the past year; with multiple lockdowns, businesses closing and reopening, it’s been hard to keep up. However, it seems like we’re finally on track to ‘normality’ as the remaining restrictions are set to end (mostly) later this month. We’ve seen hospitality reopen successfully, and even been able to see some of our loved ones again. With July 19th potentially seeing the end of social distancing, face masks and more, we’re thinking about what this means for the return to work.
Government advice still states that people should work from home where possible, meaning that many have been WFH for over a year now. If all goes as planned, this advice may be lifted on the 19th. So, what does this mean for employees, and how can employers prepare?
If reopening the workplace, priority number one will be to ensure it is COVID secure. This includes conducting risk assessments that follow current H&S guidelines and making sure workers are aware of what to expect. The guidelines are set to be reviewed on the 19th, so it’s important to stay up to date with them. Practical measures will vary depending on the industry, and you may wish to create new policy documents accordingly.
The pandemic has taught businesses a lot about working from home: both the challenges and the benefits. Because of this, there’s been a huge rise in hybrid working, which is likely to continue post-pandemic.
‘A wide range of research, including a YouGov survey and CIPD research, indicate that after the pandemic the majority of workers want to continue to work from home at least some of the time, presenting new opportunities for organisations to establish new ways of working.’ – cipd.co.uk
Organisations will need to consider what works best for their employees, along with the business itself. Some of the benefits include improving inclusivity and diversity, along with employee wellbeing and work-life balance. Hybrid working can also save businesses a lot of money, in terms of office space and more. However, this will be different for each company, and managers will have to access what is most suitable.
‘The CIPD has developed a return to work planner to support plans and is urging businesses to ensure they can meet three key tests before bringing their people back to the workplace: is it essential, is it sufficiently safe and is it mutually agreed?’ – cipd.co.uk
It’s crucial to communicate with employees, taking into account their needs, questions and concerns. Bear in mind that this is a big change for many and being forced to return could be harmful to mental health. We spoke earlier this year about the potential effects of change and how to manage it in the return to work: you can read more about that here. Also, those with families may have new responsibilities or schedules, which should also be considered.
333 Final Thoughts:
Overall, things are looking up for the UK as we reach another milestone in the ‘roadmap’. The next few weeks will be a big test for workplaces, and a difficult time for employers to navigate. Here at Triple Three Solutions, we’re ready to help you and your workers through this next step. If you’d like HR advice on how to manage the return to work, please feel free to get in touch. Call 0333 050 3330, use our contact page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.