The transition from home working or furlough back into the workplace will need to be treated with a degree of sensitivity, but what is the best approach to take to ensure your employee’s mental health and wellbeing is not compromised in the process? Rachel Suff, senior policy adviser at the CIPD, describes how people’s individual circumstances may have changed, whether that’s personally, financially or mentally: “There’s going to be a big range of responses, and I think they will be overlaid by the past experience of the pandemic and all of the different work-related and personal experiences.”
Eugenio Pirri, chief people and culture officer at Dorchester Collection, has adopted the following tactic in preparing his staff for returning to one of its many luxury hotels across the UK. “The first thing we need to do with concerns about returning to work is address them. We are listening intently to all concerns but not thinking we need to have an answer right away. We are just having conversations with them and walking them through the fear, which is sometimes just not knowing what to expect.” He adds that you must take your time and be respectful: “You can’t put the business first; you have to put people first at this stage, and then make the journey together towards a full return to work.”
It’s no secret that recent surveys have shown that only 30% of employees are eager to return to their office of pre-pandemic times, which further emphasises the need for hybrid working policies to facilitate collaboration.
We’ve developed the following key tips to help your business implement the right policy for your team:
- Be sensitive and empathetic – Many employees may be feeling burned out, demonstrate that you understand their challenges and actively listen to their concerns.
- Seek employee feedback – Every employee will have a different outlook, seek regular feedback so any immediate challenges can be addressed
- Determine how much office space you need – You may need less, or even more space to help adapt to different ways of working
- Create staggered hours for your in-office team – To help your employees who have adapted their commitments, consider flexibility of the times they physically need to be present in the office
- Communicate – A two-way street, aim to have formal and informal communication channels so employees can comfortably ask questions, provide feedback or voice concerns.
Having helped a number of our valued members transition to flexible working by supporting them with the space and tools they need to collaborate, we’re always on hand to help your business adapt. Get in touch for more information.