Pandemic restrictions in many parts of the country are lifting, so when is it safe to return to work after COVID-19? It may seem like business as usual, but the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how many companies are doing business, especially in healthcare.
Twitter has decided to work remotely indefinitely. In fact, businesses of various sizes realize employee performance is not always negatively impacted by workplace flexibility. If anything, the option of working from home helps employees feel more rested, trusted and invigorated.
Despite the challenges of the distractions at home, working parents were grateful for more time with their children. Conversely, some couples realized having separate spaces, schedules and hobbies is essential to limiting “the COVID crankies.”
Office workers miss the camaraderie and collaborative environment of their office, coffee shop or co-working space. Luckily, between zoom meetings and even zoom happy hours, many teams remain connected despite the physical distance.
So how do you know what’s best for your company and your staff?
1. Look to the experts
Statistics show that COVID-19 is not going anywhere, despite social distancing helping to flatten the curve. Businesses must weigh legitimate health concerns and consider the number of cases in their area when assessing risk. Putting your employees’ wellbeing in jeopardy, especially if they are immunocompromised or live with at-risk people, is not worth turning a profit. Be flexible with your workers when possible. It will build a trusting work culture, and employees will remember how you handled the pandemic with grace.
Check out the CDC’s guidelines for returning to work.
2. Look at similarly-sized companies in your industry
In an office with less than 10 workers, the risk is much lower than a large company with hundreds of cubicles. If you are a small business, talk to other companies in the area to brainstorm community solutions. For those who represent a large corporation, you may have the resources at your disposal to be more flexible, such as providing employees with laptops and monitors to work remotely. An added financial benefit of remote work is saving on the cost of renting an office space.
3. Consider the safety limitations of the environment
What steps is your office taking to mandate reasonable safety measures? Consider whether a daily temperature reading for all staff is realistic. And if you require your team to wear masks, whether you will supply them and how you will enforce the policy.
Think about the workspace you have and if there is enough room for employees to safely social distance. It may be easier if you have private offices compared to an open floor plan. Having the office deep-cleaned before your return will give you and your staff peace of mind.
If you can’t accommodate most of the CDC’s recommendations for returning to work, it may not be worth the risk.
4. Consider long term remote working
Remote work isn’t without its disadvantages. Yes, it is harder to monitor that staff is making the best use of their time, but consider why this worries you. Is your company as busy during a pandemic as before? Does it matter what hours someone works as long as they meet deadlines?
There are new challenges to consider, though. The learning styles and various degrees of tech-savvy in your team may vary, and hard of hearing employees may struggle during live video calls. Be mindful of different abilities when you create a post-COVID work plan and offer space for suggestions. Onboarding new hires from a distance can also be especially challenging.
5. Minimize in-person interaction
While your industry may not cater to a totally online format, do your best to minimize face-to-face contact. Think about how you can change strategies to cater to social distancing, instead of becoming a victim of it?
Restaurants in Missouri struggled when they closed their doors and switched to takeout only. A few St. Louis digs realized they could package to-go cocktails and provide the bar experience at home. They had to reassess when the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control tried to contest it, but restaurant owners are petitioning for the law to change permanently.
Remote appointments via video calls have revolutionized the healthcare market. Not only is it safer and more convenient during quarantine, but telehealth is also easier and more accessible for those with disabilities or mental health concerns that limit them leaving their homes. If you’re a healthcare professional, find out how telehealth can transform your practice.
Regardless of your industry and company size, it’s important to identify how your consumers’ habits are changing and meet them where they are. You might just discover a new buyer persona!
If you’re a health and wellness authority who would like to be the industry expert people consult, consider PowerPublish for Healthcare.