Returning to Work: Best Practices for Companies
By Kevin Budzenski
As we continue to dive into the post-pandemic world, we have listened to our clients and business professionals on their tips about adapting to our new environment. Through this article we hope to help businesses and employees better implement themselves back into the office space by giving some of the best practices we found.
We all face a new world due to the pandemic, and many have changed their habits. For example, stress and anxiety management has become a priority in many employees’ lives. Now more than ever, we all need the support and empathy of our companies and our team.
Moving back into the office too quickly may cause even more stress and anxiety for your employees. So, we recommend that you slowly integrate workers back into the office space by offering flexibility and a schedule that works for both the company and employees.
One of our partner companies has done this by, “allowing even more flexibility in their work hours, a more relaxed dress code, and an option for a hybrid work schedule with three days in the office and two days remote.”
Workable schedules, lax dress codes, and a hybrid model, are some ways you can be flexible with your employees in integrating back into the office space.
Knowing what your employees want is integral to not only employee wellness, but also from a productivity perspective. Ask employees what work model that they would like to adapt in a meeting, through a survey, or by any other means to see how they would like to return back into the office. Every employee is different and has different needs. Some employees may even be more productive when they are working at home.
According to ApolloTechnical, “those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive.”
So, communicating with your employees and finding the best work model for both of you could increase the productivity of your company. Some concerns that come with this hybrid model include not being able to be heard as an employee and lacking in team collaboration. As a company, you must find creative ways to interact with your hybrid employees to keep your culture sound as well as recognizing when an employee is not being heard.
Many companies have begun to implement/integrate wellness programs into their culture to better support the needs of their employees. A survey of 1000 Americans conducted by TELUS International indicated that 75% of Americans have faced work related anxiety from COVID-19 and other events. These wellness programs are designed to reduce the stress and anxiety of workers as well as increase productivity, strengthen culture, and bring your team together. FitPros is one of the wellness programs that does exactly this through our on demand classes and customized portal that is adapted to your company’s needs. Specifically, our health talk Stress - Awareness, Acceptance & Response can help in reducing the stress of your team as well as many other classes we offer.
Becky Doell, Director of HR at our partner, Secura, commented "In addition to greater flexibility, our Nutrition & Wellbeing Representative has put a stronger focus on mental and emotional wellbeing programs by offering more resources, a greater emphasis on EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) and presentations to support our associates."
To make sure these wellness programs are viable and integrate well into their work community, many companies have gotten feedback from their employees through surveys, focus groups, check-ins, and asking specific questions to better understand what your employees want.
Flexibility, communication, and focusing on employees' needs are the top priorities regarding going back to the office and should be at the top of mind for companies when creating their strategy. Finding the best integration model for your employees is key while taking their opinions into consideration and working with them throughout the process. Simply asking your employees what they need and accommodating them will impact how effectively your company moves back onsite.