With the success of the Covid vaccine roll out and booster jabs also on the horizon, businesses have now started to fully reopen and invite employees back to the office either full-time or on more flexible basis. Employee safety is really important and we should all continue to follow government safety guidelines for making it safe. There’s some useful information on the HSE website here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm.
Whether your business has started the initial planning or has already brought some employees back to the office, you’ll no doubt be focussing on a range of communications to ensure your workforce comply with all the government regulations. It’s one thing having all the practical and physical measures in place to ensure your business is compliant, but your workforce must still know what roles and responsibilities they must adhere to in order for the team to remain safe.
Your returning staff will each come with different emotional and physical challenges that you must navigate carefully. Everybody is different, some employees will adapt quickly to the new situation, others may be confused or anxious, or even unwilling to follow the guidelines. It’s vital that businesses communicate what they are planning to do as often and as clearly as possible, in order to ensure performance levels and staff well-being is at the optimum whilst remaining compliant. Whether your workplace contains 10 or 500 people, communications are vitally important.
Even before the pandemic hit, every organisation would have had to issue health and safety communications to the workforce and this will be well embedded into the employees working practices; they will be used to operating and acting a certain way which will now have to change. Changing behaviours is not an easy task and should form part of a stringent internal communications plan.
If you are currently planning to bring staff back to the workplace post lockdown and have not yet engaged employees across the company about the new changes that will impact them in the workplace, then now is the time to act. Communications that raise situational and behavioural awareness in order to mitigate risk and avoid injuries in the workplace are critically important.
Things to consider
There’re lots of things that you can action straight away to help employees adjust to coming back to the office; here are a few helpful suggestions;
- Get the risk assessment done and have this available to all employees to read. This will reassure them that the company is doing what it needs to legally
- Create and distribute a revised safety at work guidelines doc. This should outline what staff need to do as individuals in the workplace to stay safe
- Update computer screen savers or TVs to include animated safety prompts and empathetic messages of support, show you care
- Management teams could provide regular one to ones to help their teams with the transition back
- Run employee incentive schemes and campaigns where good behaviour is rewarded and shared companywide
- Design a welcome back pack that can include free gifts, contact details for wellbeing support and other benefits led communications will help staff settle back in
- Get back to producing regular internal communications such as internal newsletters and monthly presentations
- Consider branding the workspace to educate, empower and excite staff and visitors returning for the first time in months.
If you would like to discover how Frost Creative can help you better communicate to your workforce how to adopt these new practices as well as other purposeful actions and to promote a safe culture for the business that includes your employees, customers and visitors, please get in touch on 01489 892 602, or [email protected]