As an HR professional, you take on the responsibility of many strategic planning functions for an organization. With the COVID-19 outbreak shaking up the way many companies operated on a day to day basis, now more than ever it is crucial that HR teams streamline processes as they begin to welcome employees back to the office.
It is important for HR teams to keep in mind these key considerations in order to protect the safety of their people and the business. Read about some of the areas you can help employees feel more comfortable as you prepare to transition back into the office.
Be prepared to discuss employee benefits
With the current state of the world, it makes sense that employees may be seeking more in-depth information about their employee benefits—specifically their available insurance options. Chances are high that your organization offers some sort of basic group life insurance coverage. With the nature of the virus, it is understandable that employees may want to revisit their policies. For some, this may mean they are now looking for additional coverage if their employee policy doesn’t cover all their needs.
Many group life insurance plans offer the opportunity for employees to purchase supplemental coverage through this plan. For some employees, they may opt into this or find a more affordable option by purchasing a separate life insurance plan that offers necessary coverage for their situation. As you welcome employees back to the office, be sure to have a firm grasp on the supplemental group life coverage that your employer offers to best help individuals navigate their financial situation during these challenging times.
Properly equip managers
Whether your company is planning on returning to the office in full capacity or considering reopening in phases, each company will have to plan what makes the most sense for their business and its people. Navigating how schedules will look moving forward as many employees have become accustomed to remote work will take clear communication between HR and managers.
Each worker may feel differently in terms of their comfort level and completing work in the office. In fact, a recent survey by pWc found that 72% of office workers would like to work remotely at least two days a week. HR can stay ahead of navigating these special circumstances by properly equipping their management teams with the correct way to proceed and respond in those situations.
Ask these questions to grasp a streamlined understanding across the board to ensure work is efficiently completed while also taking into consideration the safety of your staff:
- Will employees have the option to opt-out of returning to the office?
- Do you need to re-evaluate productivity levels based on the working situations of employees?
- What types of sanitation supplies will be available in the office (i.e. hand sanitizer/masks)
- How will you address and accommodate employees with special health concerns?
- Do higher-ranking employees get prioritized use of office space?
- What is the standard procedure if an employee tests positive in the office?
Implementing standards across all departments and teams (while still taking into account special circumstances) will help take away confusion and grant peace of mind to employees who may be more anxious about returning to work. Similarly, this makes sure employees are held accountable in a fair way at all levels.
If your organization onboarded new employees during this remote work period or will be soon welcoming new hires into the office, HR may need to adjust its training process. While you might remember the office ‘pre-COVID’, take into account that these new members of the company will be just joining at a time of change.
As an HR professional, finding ways to highlight company culture despite the evident changes in the office can help new employees feel more connected to their colleagues. Some of the onboarding traditions may need to be altered due to social distancing regulations and best practices, but prioritizing them can aid in warmly welcoming new members. Because we are all adapting to a ‘new normal’, be especially mindful of your new employees that must navigate this lifestyle change on top of stepping into a new role at an unfamiliar company.
As exciting as it is to be returning to the office, HR can take the lead in creating responsible and safe ways to go about coming back. Taking proactive steps and remembering these considerations will lend to a welcoming environment that shows your company’s dedication to the success of its people and business.