Plans to reopen around the country are beginning to go into effect, which means workers who have been working from home or who were furloughed in response to COVID-19, may be returning to the workplace.
As employees’ health and wellness remains a top priority, employers need to recognize the added emotional and psychological needs of employees and respond accordingly. Some employers have already taken proactive measures to professionally clean and regularly sanitize their workplaces. However, there is still room to create new initiatives to ensure employee safety and productivity, such as:
- Creating a culture of understanding and transparency — Employees will be juggling plenty when returning to their ‘normal’ work routine. Whether it is concerns of personal health, the overflow of new information, or limited childcare options, employers need to recognize these new realities and take action. Employers can implement policies that lighten productivity requirements, offer flexible work schedules, and encourage people to take time off for necessary mental breaks.
- Involving employees — By incorporating employees into the decision-making process, employers create a level playing field. This empowers employees to make decisions about how they work and what they can do to improve workplace safety. An employee safety task force could be beneficial, which collaborates with Human Resources to implement new and improved policies and procedures.
- Introducing team building exercises and relaxation breaks — Encourage employees to take advantage of company-sponsored Employee Assistant Program (EAP) resources and to maintain a healthy work-life balance. As stress manifests itself in different ways, it is essential for employees that might be struggling mentally and emotionally to have access to needed programs and resources.
- Working in tandem with a primary healthcare provider — The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a multitude of questions and continues to cause complications with employee populations. Therefore, promoting a healthy workforce and encouraging employees to utilize trustworthy healthcare providers could boost confidence and emotional moral, as well as decrease overall health costs.
- Frequently communicating updates — Employees will inevitably have questions and concerns, so it is important for employers to effectively communicate their return to work strategies and provide answers and solutions to their worries. This will help emphasize the company’s commitment to each employee’s health and safety.
During this unprecedented time, the services and expertise of additional external resources may be needed to maintain employee health and wellness. As more workplaces begin to open their doors, employers are strongly encouraged to make any necessary physical accommodations recommended by the CDC.
Information provided by Employee Benefits News.