Digital Transformation & Insights
Although it’s hard to believe, back in 2019 only 45% of US companies and 41% of worldwide companies allowed remote work. At least, that’s what a study revealed back then. Of course, big companies such as Amazon, Twitter, or Google were strategizing for new ways to enable working from home, but all those plans were sped up tenfold when the COVID lockdown appeared.
Ever since March 2020, the number of people working from home almost doubled. However, can we guarantee that people will continue to work from home? It becomes clearer than ever before that complex projects need to be tackled at the office, where tens of engineers and marketers need to work together to solve complicated situations.
For companies that rely on in-person operations, specifically for businesses working in the retail or manufacturing industries, the need to return to work is greater than ever before.
The Past, Present, and Future of the Workforce
Things have changed in the marketplace. There’s hardly any doubt about it. Of course, some people will want to keep working from home, but, according to a CNBC report, over 55% of employees surveyed want to return to the office.
In the future, we’ll probably continue seeing a surge in the number of companies that choose to implement a policy similar to Twitter’s most recent feat, which enabled all of their employees to work from home “for life”. Nevertheless, we’ll also see a surge in people willing to come back to work.
Companies need to be ready to tackle any challenge that might prevent employees from returning to the office and should invest in tools that can keep staff safe.
What can Companies do for the People?
All employees tend to appreciate the concern of their company for their well-being and safety. To that end, each company needs to be proactive in keeping their employees happy and ensure their staff has access to systems, benefits, and protection against natural disasters and pandemics.
Research from the Social Market Foundation shows without a shadow of a doubt that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than regular employees, which we assume to have a “linear” level of happiness.
In the new era, the happiness of employees will play a crucial role in the effectiveness of the return-to-workplace processes. Companies need to overcome certain challenges post-COVID in order to ensure their employees are safe and benefit from a heightened sense of happiness.
So, what can companies do for the people? First of all, they need to listen to them. Employees need to be heard and listened to. This includes more than the standard HR suggestion boxes, regular team meetings, open-door policies, or hotlines.
As a company, you should make it easy for your employees to leave feedback, offer clear information regarding procedures, and ensure they can quickly find the information needed relating to mask-wearing and social distancing.
Additionally, you need to ensure that the work-life balance of all your employees is taken care of. When returning to the office, employees will need to have a solid plan in place on how to work with their peers and how to manage their calendar meetings and tasks.
As far as safety is concerned, employees need to feel protected from any type of risk. Start by providing a COVID-proof working environment where employees can work while resting assured that they are at no risk of infection. They also need to benefit from professional training related to social distancing, health check-ins, exposure management, and health screening.
Beyond the Curve – The Challenges & Steps for Safely Returning to the Workplace
Most workplace leaders agree that getting back on track will prove to be quite a daunting task. The challenges companies will have to overcome post the COVID-19 era is growing daily, as more and more managers discover how many back-to-work aspects they have to tackle.
Because the coronavirus-related risks will probably continue well beyond 2021, it becomes imperative for managers and leaders to do their best to keep employees happy and bring them to a point of confidence and safety.
Here are some of the steps you should consider implementing when factoring in the return to the workplace of your employees:
- Proactively inform your employees of all the campaigns and procedures related to their return to work.
- Listen to their concerns, gather feedback from them and take practical action through process changes and communication
- Provide them with easy access to safety and health resources
- Digitize the processes for returning back to work: this includes investing in health checks, purchasing a health monitoring app, performing security updates, and the list goes on.
- Assign and track tasks related to employee readiness and workplace procedures
- Guide returning and new employees through the onboarding process
- Manage on-demand and planned workplace arrangements and notify all employees of arrival times
- Make sure the workplace is properly sanitized and safe to use
- Screen your employees for a safe return to the workplace
Meet COVID-Assist Return to Workplace
In order to come to the aid of modern corporations, Tremend has developed an advanced app specially designed to ensure a successful return to work for employees. With this tool, you can minimize the disruptions caused by the COVID threat by identifying the early warning signs of the virus amongst employees.
COVID-Assist Return to Workplace is integrated with Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, allowing for rapid scale and queue back-up of data. It also comes with 2-factor authentication, biometric face id, and privacy-preserving contact tracing API.
Instead of a Conclusion
There’s no doubt that the vast majority of organizations were not prepared for the sweeping impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Business leaders and managers have but a short window to set the structure of what returning to the workplace looks like and to define the new organizational culture.
Make that window count by investing in an advanced tool that allows you to overcome any back-to-work challenges your company might face post-COVID. Meet Tremend’s COVID-Assist Return to Workplace and use it to overcome all back-to-work challenges.