Planning to bring your team back into the workplace? This will help.
After months of enforced home-working business owners are preparing to bring staff back into the workplace. But they’re facing a big challenge.
Some staff are feeling reluctant about going back into the workplace even part-time because they’re more than happy working from home. They have more time with the kids, feel less stressed thanks to not commuting, and are generally enjoying a better work-life balance.
On the flip side, some staff cannot wait to get back. They want to be part of a vibrant community and team. They’ve missed the banter, the catch-ups in the kitchen, and a feeling of connection that can’t quite be replicated over Zoom no matter how high-speed your broadband is!
So where does this leave you, the business owner?
If you feel that it’s imperative due to the nature of your business that your team needs to be in the same physical location, here are some key points to help you make the transition smoothly:
Communicate and consult
Talk to your employees as soon as possible about returning to work when the government says it’s safe to do so. Things to discuss and plan for with staff could include:
- when the workplace might reopen and staff might return
- how you will make sure the workplace is safe and how you will get views from staff about any further changes
- how staff will travel to and from the workplace
- if there might be a phased return of the workforce, for example, some staff returning before others
- who will stay working from home or on furlough.
Staff should be ready to return to work at short notice, but it’s important for you to be flexible where possible, and understand that everyone will have their own concerns and need to adjust at their own pace.
Know where you stand legally
It’s been a huge challenge for employers to keep up with the changing guidance. As it stands, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to require employees to go back to your place of work, it must be necessary, safe and mutually agreed. If your employee is not in a vulnerable group needing to stay at home, then you can expect them to return to work.
However, if they’ve shown that they can do their job just as well at home during lockdown, it might be difficult for you to force them back as government advice at the time of writing this article is to “stay working from home if you can” will trump their employment contract.
What about when the current stay-at-home directive is lifted? Kate Palmer, director of HR advice and consultancy at the professional services firm Peninsula, believes that what should follow should be “a socially responsible discussion” between both parties about the way forward.
“However, if an employee refuses to return and the employer sees their refusal as an unreasonable one, then it may result in formal disciplinary action.”
Looking for more information about how to keep your team motivated and engaged through the current changes?
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