How to Make Your Employees Feel Safe as They Return to Work

If your office is just now reopening or your employees are gearing up to return to work, safety should be your first priority. You can stock up on personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitize from floor to ceiling, and encourage social distance with floor markers, but it’s the way you communicate with your staff that will determine just how safe your precautions seem. Here are some tips to help you make your employees feel as comfortable as possible while stepping back into the office. 

Be Patient

Making daycare arrangements, gathering PPE, and overcoming potential anxiety can take days — at minimum. So, whether you’ve just gotten the go-ahead from your local government or have been permitted to reopen your office for some time, you should still offer your staff room to prepare for an on-site return. If possible, consider giving a one- to two-week notice before officially requiring them to revisit the office. 

Be Thorough

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, your employees are certainly familiar with the latest health and safety recommendations — washing hands, maintaining social distance, etc. But that doesn’t mean you can expect them to understand what your business is doing to encourage, facilitate, or implement them. The first day you ask your staff to set foot in the office, make them feel comfortable by:  

  1. Going over your existing health insurance policy or explaining any new changes to your office benefit structure that could affect an employee’s ability to access affordable medical care 
  2. Reviewing the policy for personal protection, detailing the PPE you’ll provide and the sanitization practices you’ve put into place
  3. Explaining how you plan to regulate social distancing in the office — whether that be through staggered work schedules, smaller team meetings, or seating rearrangements 
  4. Expressing that you appreciate your staff, admire their dedication, and are grateful for their health and safety 

Be Available

If you want to make your employees feel safe, listen to their concerns, answer their questions, and be as receptive as you possibly can. Make yourself more available through email, phone, or video chat, and let your staff know exactly where to find you when they have a question or concern. Likewise, if you don’t yet have an answer or are still working on a solution for one particular pain point, be honest — but also make it clear that you acknowledge the issue and aren’t going to let it go unsolved.   

Be Flexible

While it’s important to honor your customers and your company, it’s also important to honor your employees. If employee performance and results have remained stable throughout the pandemic, your staff might come to you with requests to keep working from home for the time-being. To slowly transition back into the office full-time, consider putting a hybrid in-office/work-from-home schedule in place. 

Be Ready for a Safe Return

Your employees need reassurance, honesty, and availability now more than ever. Instead of taking time away from other areas of your business to be there for your staff, partner with Professional Employer Resources (PER). As a co-employer and human resources provider, we can help with tasks like payroll administration, benefits administration, and workers’ compensation — allowing you more time to focus on your workers and their safety. To learn more about our services, contact us today.

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