For more than six decades, the New Jersey Business magazine has been providing Garden State employers with needed news and advice. The publication’s guidance for the business community has never been needed more than it is right now.
The magazine recently published an article penned by an HR professional with a health care provider about what employers should do to create safe workplaces when welcoming back employees.
Politicians have repeatedly emphasized that the return to “normal” will be slow and filled with challenges. Employers are warned that they won’t be able to simply put a “we’re open” sign on the front door and expect a return to past routines and previous levels of productivity.
If no vaccine is developed, and the search for effective COVID-19 treatments is still ongoing, some workers will be hesitant to return to their jobs, and some with health concerns will likely ask for accommodations.
Returning workers will likely be distracted by news reports and health concerns for themselves and family members. Childcare concerns might deepen for some employees as well.
The HR professional says employers and their HR teams should right now be thinking their way through these looming issues. The five pieces of advice for employers welcoming back workers:
- Screenings: ensure a safe workplace by implementing routine screenings at the entrance
- Education: remind workers about maintaining habits that maintain safety for all (washing hands, covering the mouth when coughing, avoiding groups, etc.
- Morale: implement mood-boosting activities and encourage a healthy work-life balance
- Communications: quickly, directly address employee concerns
- Updates: regular communications about what the firm is doing to promote a safe workplace
Most important of all, says the author, employers should maintain realistic expectations. It won’t be business as usual, but with open communications and flexibility, New Jersey workplaces can return to productivity.