Tips For Returning to the Workplace After COVID-19

By Parisa Hashempour

Published 15 September 2020

If you had a cent for every time you heard the words ‘unprecedented’ or ‘challenging’, we’re willing to bet you’d be a much richer business owner in 2020. It’s a year that’s been marked by huge changes to the way companies operate. From working remotely to making difficult decisions on redundancies and furloughs, it’s not been an easy year.

But eventually, the situation will begin to shift, and businesses will move back into the office. There will be many guidelines helping you understand how to return to work after the pandemic but most importantly, you should identify how you are going to keep your employees happy and healthy. If you ensure that you help them safely return to work after COVID-19, your business will be supercharging its growth in no time.

Learn how to cope with returning to work after COVID-19

If you haven’t already figured out your game plan, it’s time you began educating yourself on how to cope with returning to work after COVID-19 and how you can accommodate all of your staff. Prepare yourself by making a checklist of what you need to do to get your employees ready to return to work.

It’s not just important that you are complying with government regulations, but also that you appear as though you are genuinely concerned with the overall health of your employees. This will lead to more trust in your company and fewer employees that are left stressed, unwell and struggling with burnout.

Put simply, unhealthy employees are unproductive and cost your company money. Ensuring the good health of your workforce is more important than ever so that your company survives and thrives the anticipated economic recession.

How are companies returning to work after COVID-19?

In truth, no company, city or country is doing things the same. The most important thing? That new hygiene protocols are established early and kept to.

For you, that might mean ensuring that your office accommodates staff at a safe social distance. You need to minimize the risk to your employees so that you can keep your operations running smoothly. Some useful safety protocols that you can implement to ensure safety include:

  • Implementing a one-way system
  • Alternating days staff are allowed to visit the office
  • Frequent cleaning of objects and communal areas

Making sure that your employees are aware of your hygiene rules and fully understand them will help them trust in the decision you have made about their return to the workplace.

How to safely return to work after COVID-19

Navigating the aftermath of COVID–19 pandemic will be one of the biggest business challenges of our time. But there are a number of steps you can take to ensure you are as prepared as possible.

  • Educate yourself

The first step is to ensure that you are as educated as possible about both the virus and corporate wellness. Look for resources that will give you insights into how to optimize the health of your employees and keep them safe and happy when they return to work.

Over the coming months, Virtuagym will be posting a huge amount of articles and helpful resources on the best ways to improve the wellness of your employees. Stay tuned! Official governmental and international organisations also provide helpful resources. Check out what the WHO has to say. 

  • Leverage technology to ensure employee safety

Over the course of this year, we’ve all learned that technology will be crucial to helping us adapt to situations such as the recent pandemic. We’ve all become used to Zoom meetings and digital workouts, and now it’s time to leverage tech to keep us safe in a post-pandemic world too.

How to return employees to work after covid
Designed by master1305 / Freepik

Apps such as Virtuagym can facilitate contact tracing and enable you to easily and quickly communicate with your employees. It’s an effective way to share the latest news and safety information and reach out to employees that work both in your office and at a distance.

When communicating with employees it is important to consider issues such as the stigma COVID-19 sufferers may face, as well as the potential mental health implications of the pandemic – both due to the virus itself and the impact of working in isolation. By staying in frequent contact with your employees you can circumvent some of the more severe experiences your employees may be at risk of facing.

  • Initiate wellness challenges

When your staff are engaged in fitness activities and challenges, they’re not only motivated to look after their mental and physical health, but they’re also more engaged with your company as a whole. By encouraging your staff to work out with you and work with you, you’re helping them maintain good wellness habits and ensuring that you have a happy and healthy workforce.

It’s also great for company morale – they’re marching towards a common goal (and trying to beat each other to the finish line!) An app that incorporates wellness challenges such as Virtuagym is an effective and non-invasive way to do this. Employees can easily check in with the challenge via their phone but don’t feel obligated to respond (as they might do if it were circulated via your companies regular communication platform).

Your employees may be struggling with the fact that they can’t easily socialize with one another after work. Sadly, Friday drinks are on tentative grounds, depending week-by-week on the latest government advice. Instead, use wellness and fitness challenges as an opportunity for socializing at a safe distance.

And while we’re on the topic of fitness…

  • Provide both on and offsite access to fitness

By providing your employees with access to a gym, in-person fitness programs or a digital app for working out at home, you are helping them take care of their wellness. This is a proven way to reduce stress and burnout and ensure you have an effective and productive workforce that is ready to cope with returning to work after COVID-19.

The important thing is that you cater to your employee’s fitness both in real life and virtually. Not everyone will be able to return to the office immediately. Those working remotely may require an extra nudge to stay on track – this is where an app like Virtuagym comes in. It provides employees with a virtual personal trainer and in-app exercises so that they can stay on top of their fitness whilst working remotely. In the long-run, this will lead to a less stressed out workforce and less money spent on absenteeism.

In sum, it won’t be easy to return your workforce to normality. But with a little bit of education and some assistance from software, you’ll be all set to take on the challenges of the future.

Parisa Hashempour

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