THE “NEW NORMAL WORKPLACE” | Employer & employee adjustments in the COVID-19 era

We have seen over the recent months, as the world has ventured into the unknown grip of the COVID – 19 pandemic, a requirement for organisations to adapt quickly to not only the way they do business but the management of the workforce in the “new normal workplace.”

Whilst many challenges have come to light with radical change in the work and social environment what has also become evident is mass opportunities. Those organisations who continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic effectively are seeing employee turnover figures decrease, discretionary effort increase and absenteeism figures plummeting due to flexibility and trust with management.

Factors to consider when managing a workforce in the “new normal workplace” include:

Health and Safety

  • Establishing a COVIDSafe Plan – new cleaning protocols are in place including providing all staff with any necessary personal protective equipment to maintain personal hygiene in shared spaces.
  • Temperature testing in the workplace is also being used across many physical workplaces.
  • Updating your risk assessment plan to accommodate a potential future spike in COVID-19 cases including contact tracing and travel policies.
  • Creating a policy around working from home if not already in place, ensuring all workplace health and safety legislative requirements are adhered to including individual ergonomics.
  • Changes to physical workplace design to accommodate the social distancing measures of 1.5m.

Technological Changes

  • Adopting a full or partial virtual workspace and ensuring all employees have the equipment to complete their work from home during and beyond the pandemic.
  • Making sure staff are aware and educated on their cyber safety and security requirements.
  • Educating staff on technological changes and opportunities for greater efficiencies.
  • Utilisation of new software to enhance internal communication e.g. Instant messaging systems such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype for Business, Google Hang Outs.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

  • Actively managing the stress and anxiety felt by employees who may not feel comfortable returning the workplace.
  • Alternate arrangements to support the “new normal workplace” e.g. transport methods for staff who rely on public transport.
  • Remote support options to ensure employees do not feel isolated. This could include daily huddles, access to an Employee Assistance Program.

Management and Communication

  • Assessing how employees should return to the workplace, via a stage return or if some employees may continue to work from home on a longer-term basis
  • Adapting to scheduling online meetings as opposed to face to face with clients, employees, suppliers which could see a financial gain
  • Lead with empathy considering employee physical and mental wellbeing along with a continued assessment of productivity and being open about performance ongoing
  • Communicate updates at least monthly on the business performance, work from home options and any ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Want to know more?

If you would like more information on COVID-19 workforce matters, please contact Gemma Davidson our People & Culture Manager.

An Important Message

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents.  Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

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