Employees Face Anxiety Returning To Office Post COVID
As more people return to work following coronavirus induced lockdown, many individuals are grappling with re-entry anxiety. The risk of contracting the virus in the workplace is a major concern as transmissions persist. Exposure to the virus translates to greater risk for families.
Millions of people are apprehensive about spending time in public spaces. Taking public transport or going shopping is a frightening prospect. Likewise, returning to work may feel overwhelming; hence, the need for employers to provide support to employees experiencing re-entry anxiety. This requires the provision of resources and tools designed to promote the mental well-being of workers.
Greg LaScala, CEO of LaScala IT in Michigan outlines effective ways to boost your employees' confidence upon their return to work.
1. Communicate your plan
Communication is vital in helping affected employees. For this reason, you should formulate an effective communication plan that addresses specific issues. The staff members need guidance from the company executives on how to handle the challenges associated with re-entry anxiety. Assigning specific roles to managers allows you to enhance communication in different departments.
Transparency and consistency are essential factors when formulating a communication plan. Providing regular updates helps employees cope with the challenge. In turn, they are more likely to regain confidence and become more productive. Two-way communication also contributes to the reduction in the pandemic's impact on the mental well-being of the employees.
2. Promote self-care
The pandemic has become a stressful reality for most people around the world. You can encourage the affected employees to adopt self-care mechanisms. As the employer, consider helping individuals by providing access to relevant resources designed to educate workers on proven ways to cope with re-entry anxiety.
Effective measures that help employees cope include meditation, yoga, and increased social interaction. In addition to the provision of resources, you can help employees by granting them time off to re-energize. These self-care mechanisms can yield beneficial results to make it easier for team members to become more productive.
3. Provide flexibility
Allowing some employees to work from home provides flexibility that helps individuals to adjust and prepare for spending time in the workplace. However, you may have to accommodate your employees' personal commitments as they work from home. Many companies have experienced increased pressure to allow workers to leverage the flexibility associated with working remotely whenever possible.
High levels of flexibility are necessary for employees caring for children or other dependents. In such cases, you enable individuals to deal with re-entry anxiety and other commitments. Providing flexible working arrangements is one way to demonstrate that you care for your employees' well-being. In turn, your staff is more likely to become more motivated and productive.
4. Train team leaders
Managers and other team leaders can play a meaningful role in ensuring a comfortable return to the workplace for everyone. You should train the leaders on various aspects of combating re-entry anxiety. Managers must familiarize themselves with the symptoms of anxiety and effective ways to help individuals cope with emotional distress.
Formal and informal support networks can help reduce anxiety as workers reengage with colleagues. The networks provide critical support after the pandemic undermined the viability of these structures through social distancing. Managers should encourage employees to participate in social networks with colleagues without disregarding the Covid-19 rules.
5. Implement recommended public health measures
As you prioritize the well-being of employees, implementing public health measures at your premises can help reassure workers that the workplace is safe. Many people experience re-entry anxiety because they are wary of the health risks associated with spending more time in the workplace. Adopting this approach will not only relieve the workers' concerns but also safeguard the health of customers and other visitors to your premises.
Getting the approval of public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a vital step in restoring workers' confidence. People trust the opinion of public health experts when dealing with the safety of the workplace. Some companies have offered hazard pay to their frontline workers as a way to demonstrate they prioritize the welfare of employees.
The impact of social distancing and other restrictions can have far-reaching consequences if you neglect to implement mitigation measures. Employees require the support of their employers to ensure a smooth return to the workplace. The pandemic triggered psychological effects, which can undermine productivity.
Without proper support structures, some individuals may resort to drugs, alcohol, and other habits that worsen the situation. Hence, the need to encourage communication, self-care, and provide flexibility.