Businesses are looking ahead to plan for how they can begin to transition back to physical environments that are productive, effective and, above all, safe.
Almost overnight, a large majority of knowledge workers transitioned to remote work as a global pandemic forced immediate change. As we move forward, returning back to physical workplaces won’t be for everyone, but offering an in-person set-up is necessary or preferred for many businesses and workers.
Today, there are concrete steps that businesses can put into place to create a back to work action plan. In collaboration with other prominent global HR service companies, ManpowerGroup has helped set up these best practices. Below is a roadmap that businesses can use to ensure a successful transition back to work.
Plan through team effort
Returning to work will be a herculean effort, which will require input from across the organization as well as lessons learned and best practices from other businesses and industries to develop a roadmap back to working safely. Involve colleagues in return to work planning, as a matter of priority. This recognizes that, following weeks of enforced lockdown, colleagues may be reluctant to return to work, unless they are confident in the healthy working measures in their workplace. Once the plan and a clear timetable are agreed to, implementation will be more successful if it is genuinely a team effort across the whole organization with high levels of involvement at every level.
Assess the operations before lockdown and current lockdown procedures and identify gaps that need to be changed to transition to a temporary normal. As with planning, the implementation effort should also be holistic. Facilitate collaboration between internal stakeholders and departments to develop what actions need to be taken (e.g. construction of physical barriers) that are implemented in coordination with administrative controls (e.g. changes to shift patterns and work schedules).
Measure and evaluate effectiveness
With so much change all at once, there will continue to be lessons learned at every step of the way. Businesses should put controls into place and schedule regular sessions to gather input from colleagues on improvement suggestions, and then implement corrections as needed. Constantly evaluate whether the measures can be quickly adjusted for a tightening or relaxation of pandemic regulations and physical distancing rules.
Months after a dramatic turn of events, businesses won’t be able to turn the corner overnight. But the good news is they can lay the groundwork with lessons learned from others, work together and be prepared and ready when returning to a physical workplace. The time to start is now.