• Cathryn Remmington

Returning to work can be scary!

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Supporting your employees and teams back in to the workplace.

Many people are now starting to return to the workplace or are easing back in now that the restrictions are starting to lift slightly. For many this will be a strange and potentially frightening process. For business owners and leaders, it is really important that the process is managed in the best way to ensure the transition is as smooth as it can be, helping to reduce the sense of anxiety felt by employees and your teams.

All employers have a legal obligation to ensure that they are looking after not only the health and safety of their employees by putting in place measures such as PPE, safe distancing in the workplace, good levels of hygiene and a sickness policy that covers new rules on coming to work when sick, but also the obligation of looking after the mental health of those in your organisation.

Here are some steps and strategies on how you can help your staff to return to work. Talk about it. By showing that you understand people will feel anxiety on returning to work after such a long, unprecedented time away, as well as returning to work with the virus still around will allow your teams to feel that you are concerned about their wellbeing. It will also make them feel that they can talk to you about their concerns and build a good relationship between you.

Give time.

If you are able to gradually reintroduce your employees who are feeling the most anxious in their return this could help them to start to reintroduce their work patterns in a timely and manageable way.

Think outside the box.

If your organisation will struggle to adhere to the distancing guidelines set out by the government, but you have had some of your workforce working in different, maybe remote ways, then maybe it is worth thinking about how you can maintain the approaches that you adopted for the time being, or if it works better maybe encourage them to work on a system where they work every other day in the office to only have half of your workforce in your buildings at one time. Communicate

Whatever you need to do to bring back your workforce, ensure that you are in contact with them and checking in on them regularly to make sure they are doing ok. If there are remote workers, this is especially important to remember to call and check they are monitoring their wellbeing and managing to work through tasks.

Create a healthy culture

Leading by example it is good practice to promote self-care within your organisation, exercise can be encouraged by advising staff they must take a lunchbreak and get some fresh air and go for a walk. Eating well would be encouraged, maybe arrange that each office has a bowl of fruit each day and keeping hydrated with a water fountain or tank available if possible. Making sure that as a business you know where your employees can access support if necessary, either internally if available or externally and that they are advised of it and feel that if they do need to access it they would be able to freely.

Returning to work after any period of time off can be a seriously dauting proposition for anyone, so it is vital that your employees feel well supported and looked after in their return.

Thanks for reading, follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @FullFocusClinic Have you downloaded your FREE mental health at work guide? A simplified guide of the HSE's six key areas of mental health that all businesses have a legal duty to follow.  Simplified to show you where you may need to expand your training and knowledge for a happier workforce and improved revenue. CLICK TO DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE

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