Almost all businesses have been affected financially by the impact of COVID-19, but as things slowly return to normal, new challenges are likely to emerge. After the stress of lockdown and maybe living through illness or even bereavement, your team will find it hard to simply take up where they left off. Therefore, the predicament faced by business owners is how to re-establish a supportive, safe and efficient environment, when staff still feel uncertain. It will take time, but there are ways in which you can navigate around any obstacles and build a workplace culture that’s even healthier than before.
Workplace testing can reassure returning employees
As people come back to work from lockdown and adjust to a busier environment, it’s understandable that they will have concerns about catching COVID-19. One way in which an employer can offer practical reassurance is through laboratory drug testing. Matrix provides a swift, accurate testing service that identifies any potential issues so you can tackle them immediately. Using the Matrix portal, you can check the progress of your workplace tests and a team of scientists will provide you with telephone support as required.
Rebuild healthy relationships within your team
Good relationships between employees and employers brings them together and creates a healthier workplace experience. When people are happy, they remain motivated and are less likely to become involved in a conflict at work. To encourage the formation of new bonds, you can lead by example. Be friendly, stay positive and provide support wherever it is needed.
Recognise that people have concerns
People have suffered in various ways, so getting back to normal without acknowledging the crisis is impractical. Many of your team will be anxious about returning and it’s important to take their worries seriously. Whether you need to sit down for a one to one chat or grant them a degree of flexibility when it comes to working hours, there are ways to manage their health concerns or changes of circumstance.
Value your remote workforce
Not every business will want or need their entire team back in the office. If you plan to keep some employees working remotely, you’ll benefit from a wider talent pool, but these people need to be included in your rejuvenation plans. To ensure they feel part of the workplace, try to maintain a personal connection with them. This could involve acting on their feedback, holding casual meetings or parties over zoom and sending thank-you packages once in a while.
Work on a road map for recovery
Most businesses will have several issues to address as a result of the pandemic, but it’s vital to recognise what you are up against before taking action. Once your priorities are established, ensure the approach you take is felt equally across the business so no department or individual feels unfairly targeted. Continuous communication can help you spot potential problems quickly and keep your strategy on track. Moreover, being transparent about your plans lets people know what’s going on behind the scenes and fosters trust amongst your team.
Let employees be part of the process
They are part of the workplace culture you are hoping to rebuild, so it’s important to involve employees in the discussion. Ask for their feedback, listen to their opinions at meetings and interact throughout the working day. To keep your ear to the ground even further, create regular surveys and allow people to fill them in anonymously if they prefer.
Continue to celebrate and inspire personal growth
Once you’ve brought the team back, make an effort to develop their skills and improve their confidence. People have spent a lot of time indoors and that can lead to anxiety about being able to perform as well as they used to. You can encourage them with top-down collaborations, mentorship schemes and monthly evaluations. Allowing people to identify their strengths and set personal goals, empowers them to become better at what they do. It also demonstrates that you are invested in them as individuals, not just as employees.
Keep at it
Although it won’t be easy, the perseverance and time you put into recreating a healthy working environment will always be worthwhile. Retaining employees and sustaining their engagement will save the company money and means productivity levels stay high. As a result, you can serve your customers well. Working towards a positive organisational culture is not just about making the place look good; it’s about keeping your business on top through the most trying of times and continually turning a profit.