COVID-19 cases are showing a downward trend in India. However, office re-openings might stoke anxiety in employees returning to the office, as they contemplate the risks of using public transport and sharing desks, canteens or restrooms with other workers.
Here’s how employers can allay those fears and help people transition safely back to work.
Double down on safety: Make sure that workplace safety measures are comprehensive, visible, and consistently implemented. Steps like rigorous screening and sanitization; enforcing of social distancing in common areas; and training workers and managers in safe workplace behaviors shows that you’re serious about minimizing the risk.
Offer flexibility where possible: Certain roles can be performed remotely, while others require the physical presence of employees. Employers should factor in this distinction in their reopening policy, rather than announcing a blanket ‘All Hands On Deck’ rule.
Keep vulnerable workers in mind: Employees who are older in age, pregnant, or living with pre-existing health complications are at greater risk from the coronavirus. Such employees might not be able to work out of office, at least temporarily. Factor in their needs while formulating your plans.
Communicate clearly: Talk to employees about why certain people are required in office and some aren’t. Also tell them about the steps taken for their safety: for e.g., ‘staggered’ work shifts, company-facilitated conveyance, office sanitization procedures, a cap on in-person meetings, and so on. Encourage them to ask questions and voice their fears.
"The happier and more fulfilled you are at work, the happier and more fulfilled you will be in your life.”
- Workplace Anxiety by David Leads