Are you worried your employees may not come back to work post pandemic?
Some may fear for their safety. Others could be enjoying temporarily enhanced unemployment benefits. Either way, getting some employees back to work may be tougher than you originally thought.
Small Business Trends contacted Arran Stewart, CVO and co-founder of Job.com who shared some helpful tips designed to encourage your employees to return.
He supplied five ways small business owners can encourage their employees to come back to work.
Encourage Employees Back to Work Post Pandemic
He started out highlighting some of the obstacles left.
“Fear will be the biggest hurdle for business owners,” Stewart writes. “We need a suitable vaccine or medical treatment. Until then, there will be continuous concern you may get sick in a public place.”
Stewart says another problem is some states are paying people more in unemployment than when they worked. People might also not want to go back to a job where they can be exposed to the virus.
Here are some things SMB’s can do to overcome these issues.
Show Them You Care
Stewart explains, “Owners and managers must lead with empathy and compassion. This is a stressful time for everyone, where people feel unsure about their health, safety and future. Those principles should guide how you lead your employees, through this and beyond.”
Here’s a few things smart business owners can do.
Keeping on top of wellness websites and other resources helps. Post information around the office about them or on your website and in other shared spaces. Making sure your employees have all the latest information from credible sources shows you care.
When they know you are compassionate, they’ll be more likely to want to return to work.
Good communication is a great way to entice your workers back. It’s one of the best ways to show them you are compassionate. Make sure any channels you use are two-way. When workers know they can reach out and have their needs and concerns met, they will be more comfortable
Putting together an internal channel on Slack or Skype helps.
Show Them You’ll Protect Them
Stewart says small business owners will need to sanitize the workplace.
“You’ll want to keep high touch services clean, and give workers access to protective personal equipment like gloves, masks and hand sanitizers,” Stewart says.
Adopting a routine where everyone wipes down equipment and desks helps to promote a sense of togetherness. This is especially important for places that have shifts.
Finding this equipment to keep your business and employees safe is one thing. You’ll need to do a little more to make this aspect appealing. You should train your employees on how to wear the gloves and masks and use the sanitizer effectively.
Here are some tips from the CDC on the subject.
Providing printed material and signs is good too. Putting these up around your small business shows that you care about your employees and their safety.
Change Your Sick Day Policy
Stewart explains some other possible changes that will attract employees back.
“Office capacity may need to be reduced or staggered for social distancing policies,” he says. “Additionally, sick day policies can be adjusted to broaden the definition of what qualifies,” he says.
Embrace Remote Work
He says another way to change your business to suit the times is about encouraging telecommuting. He says if employees have managed to remain productive, they should be allowed to work from home. Presented the right way, it’s a great incentive to get people back to work
“Some of the changes brought on by the pandemic have been more positive and progressive for some industries,” he says. “Embrace some of the changes as an opportunity for improving and expanding your business.”
Making sure your employees have the right technology will encourage them to start working from home. The right kind of communication system is important. Cloud-based VOIP phone systems are critical. Employees that worked in offices will feel at ease with backups for videoconference systems like Zoom.
Encouraging a schedule helps to ease workers back into this type of situation. Offering some kind of routine is a good idea. It helps workers back into a familiar rhythm even if they’re not in the office.
Start Planning Now
“Despite the circumstances, this is an ideal time for small business to take advantage of their ability to change quickly and lead from the front with new working practices,” Stewart says.
If you’re looking to get started, check out some of these COVID 19 inspired office designs. The new Six Feet Office combines social distancing and workstations. The company involved is also offering up paper placemats for desks. These get thrown away at the end of the day.
Stewart supplies the last word.
“Now is the time to start thinking carefully about the future of your company and how agile you can be to be able to survive and thrive out of the pandemic.”
More in: Coronavirus Biz Advice