The ongoing pandemic has pushed many businesses into a state of turmoil. Several countries had to initiate lockdown procedures to stop the spread of the virus and it disrupted the entire business ecosystem. In this period, many organizations also came tumbling down affecting the employment status of millions of employees. And a few others had to allow their employees to work from home in order to keep their business going. Amidst all these, the usual work culture took a major hit and the notion of employee engagement was set on the back foot.
However, after the past few months of forced lockdown things are now returning back to normal. Businesses are opening up and we can soon expect employees back in their respective workplaces. But now the workplace scenes will be quite different from before and employers need to rethink their approach on many aspects and one of them is how to keep the employees engaged in the post lockdown period.
This will be really crucial and hard to get on with immediately but you need to prepare yourselves to keep up with the new situation. Especially, since now you need to encourage your employees to maintain space between themselves and limit their physical interaction at work. Things like this are definitely going to affect your workers coming back to their workplace after a long gap.
So, here in this blog, I’ll try to explain to you the few ways through which you can keep up the employee engagement level after your employees return to work.
Let’s get started!
1. Provide Counseling Sessions
I have put this point at the top because this should be the first thing that you should bring to your workplace when employees start resuming their work.
The reason I told you about providing counseling sessions is that a lot of employees are surely going to have a hard time in getting back their old mojo. After working out of their homes for so long returning back to their old schedule will surely look very cumbersome.
Employees might feel zoned out or they may lose their interest in work due to the change of situation. Moreover, the pandemic is still there and in such a situation your employees won’t perceive joining you back in the office as a good idea. Therefore, to make things a little easy for them and kill their paranoia you can host counseling sessions for your employees. Such sessions will clear their minds from fears and at the same time prepare them to cope up with the changes that they could be facing in the workplace.
2. Ensure High Standards of Safety
Another thing that your employees would be worried about almost every time they come to work is regarding their safety. They would never want to carry the virus and infect their loved ones back at home. Thoughts like these are going to severely impact their morale and hinder them from completely focusing on their jobs.
Therefore, to make them feel safe and engaged, you should make sure that the highest standards of safety and precaution are maintained in the workplace.
Here are some of the things that you can to create a safer work environment once the lockdown is lifted:
- Creating a covid response team in the workplace with experts.
- Providing protective gear like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, face shields, etc to all the workers.
- Arranging safe transportation mediums like providing company buses or so for those employees who rely on public transport for commuting.
- Frequently disinfecting all the common areas to mitigate the risk of transmission.
- Regular temperature checks and keeping a proper record of everyone entering the workplace.
Things like this will give your employees a sense of being in a safe environment where they don’t need to worry much and concentrate more on their work.
3. Emphasize on Employee Wellness
The pandemic has shown us why we need to be fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even many organizations have started to realize the importance of having a corporate wellness program in the workplace.
These programs are specifically designed to help employees get out of their sedentary lifestyle that is prevailing across several industries and set their foot towards a healthier way of life. This is achieved by combining various health challenges with meaningful rewards for the top performers.
After your employees come back to work it’ll be very important to keep themselves active and moving that would boost their immune system. And for the same, organizations should now look for how they can support employee wellness. Also, when your employees are physically fit and mentally active they are able to give their best performance at work.
4. Facilitate them With a Flexible Work Schedule
During the lockdown days, the employees were able to enjoy a sound work-life balance. Though I also agree that it was quite difficult for many to cope up while juggling between work and life, but then also it was all comfortable from within the safety of their home.
Even if the lockdown has been lifted many employees surely won’t be able to catch the unlock wagon instantly. This could be because of their fear of getting infected, the unwillingness to leave their family or kids, or simply because they are enjoying the work from home.
Hence, to help these employees return back to work I would highly recommend you to create a flexible working schedule for everyone in the organization. Such a schedule will allow your employees to settle in with the changes as per their convenience and also gradually scale up their engagement levels.
5. Distribute Task Rationally
Once your employees return to work don’t just push the entire workload that could be pending because of the lockdown. If you do anything like this it’ll be a huge setback to your whole employee engagement efforts.
Instead, you should be rational when distributing pending tasks among the employees. For this review your working conditions and the footfall of employees so that you don’t stress them out with excess burden. Doing this will also ensure that they become mentally prepared to cope with the growing workload and make the best decisions to get the job done efficiently.
6. Give Timely Recognition
Recognition delayed is recognition denied!
If you have halted appreciating your employees citing not being near or using the ongoing pandemic as a reason then you are kind of putting salt on the recipe for a perfect disaster. The disaster here is nothing but ending up with a demotivated workforce. Even if the employees are present they would be least bothered about contributing to their organization’s goals.
Recognizing your employees’ achievements is very important to keep them motivated and happy. When your employees receive appreciation in front of their peers they realize their worth and how essential they are. This further fuels their zeal to do more in order to achieve more. Therefore, you must make sure that you are acknowledging the good work of your employees frequently.
7. Keep up the employee morale with virtual team building activities
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the social connection that employees shared with each other in the workplace. The strength of this connection determined their unity and the ability to solve problems together as a team. Also, we can speculate that a large number of employees will still opt for working from home even if the lockdown is lifted resulting in lesser footfall in the office. In such a scenario, hosting virtual team building activities could really help employers.
The online team building activities provide a scope for the employees to revive the team spirit with various tasks that require a high amount of teamwork even if they are not close to each other.
Well, these were the 7 points that I think every organization must look into and incorporate to make sure that the employees are back in their old form. However, if you like to add some more points to this topic then do share it with us through your comments below.