Reposted from my May 26, 2020 article on LinkedIn.
The long awaited reopening plans are getting underway. Connecticut was the last state to start executing plans and is well underway. Most states are doing some sort of phased reopening while they watch the key indicators for the virus in their state. Given so many unknowns about the virus, clarity on later phases is lacking and businesses are faced with making decisions while knowing things are still changing.
Here is what we do know:
Businesses in all industries need to re-examine cleaning protocols, likely changing them and increasing frequency.
Workplace traffic patterns need to be reviewed to ensure the ability to social distance.
Workplace volumes and density need to be reduced.
Personal hygiene, social distancing guidelines and changes to workspace protocols need to be communicated frequently.
Employees need to know where to raise concerns and those concerns need to be addressed promptly.
All that said, businesses have decisions to make and questions to answer about reopening. Do they continue some version of work from anywhere? What happens to all the open office spaces? Can we, should we or do we have to require face masks? How does a face mask requirement interact with privacy and disability rules? No doubt there is a lot to consider and while there are tools to help, different businesses have different needs and requirements. These are impacted by geography, industry, and type of work.
What will separate the best employees from the rest? Employers who are seen as caring for their employees well being will stand out. Employees are worried. They are worried about their jobs, their health and the health and caring of their families. Employers who involve employees in the changes will hear those concerns and be able to address them. Employers should check in frequently as things evolve to see how their employees are doing, and what support they need. This can and should be done at the company level through automated tools and surveys but leaders should also be checking in regularly and highlighting employee concerns.
The bottom line, it is your employees that make your business successful and how employers treat employees as they reopen will separate the best from the rest.
#employeeengagement #reopening #coronavirus #leadership #employeewellness