Before COVID-19, the most significant work disruptions were caused by new technology and expanding trade linkages. COVID-19 has enhanced the importance of the physical dimension of work for the first time. Many firms are reopening their offices after more than a year of remote work caused by the global pandemic. But workers have varied opinions about it. Some people enjoy the concept of collaborating with coworkers in person rather than using their kitchen table as a makeshift home office.
Those who are looking forward to returning to work, on the other hand, appear to be in the minority. According to a study of 1,000 full- and part-time workers performed by Envoy in mid February, roughly two-thirds of workers are concerned about the transition. A major chunk of the remote workforce loves the freedom and security of remote culture so much. To an extent that they claim they’ll resign if their bosses force them to return to the office.
Traditional sector designations provide a different perspective on work. For example, only medical roles involve close connections with patients. Such as doctors and nurses, are included in our medical care arena.
Administrative workers in hospitals and medical offices work in a computer based office environment, where more work can be done remotely. Lab technicians and pharmacists operate in the indoor manufacturing sector because their professions necessitate the use of specialist equipment on-site. But it requires little interaction with other people.
It is important for companies to ensure their workers have a safe environment they are going to work in. Before they enter the office after a long episode of remote work, the organizations are bound to revise all protocols for their employees.
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Actionable Measures To Be Taken By Companies
Below we have mentioned some actionable steps for companies to make the complete transition smooth for everyone.
Whether or not employees continued to participate in the employer’s benefits plans, some notices or activities may be necessary to remain compliant. Employees should be informed of these changes as soon as feasible.
- Flexible spending accounts
- Paid leaves
- Group health insurance
- Pension Plans
To build an ordered and regulated strategy, plan how and when employees will return to work or to the worksite. It could be stressful and potentially dangerous for all employees to return on the same day at the same time.
- Developing a plan for employees who are at high risk of infection to return to work.
- Employees are gradually returning to work.
- Employees who have been called back to work are notified by the state unemployment agency. This is a state mandate that will enable those who choose not to return to work to save money on unemployment taxes.
- Choosing a strategy for dealing with employees who are unable or unwilling to return to work.
Ensure Workplace Safety
Employers should know that office management has made the environment safer for them to work. Giving them the right safety measures will soothe their fears and build brand loyalty. This in return will impact the work done by your employers positively.
- Putting in place health screening protocols for employees.
- Creating an exposure response strategy.
- Cleaning methods are detailed, and supplies are procured on a regular basis.
- Giving Personal protective equipment (PPE) to all workers on a daily basis.
- Putting in place physical barriers inside the workplace.
- Creating contact protocols for customers and/or visitors.
- Putting restrictions on business travel.
- Understanding and adhering to the record-keeping and reporting requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Stable Communications Plan
Employees and consumers will be able to comprehend how the company expects to reopen or re-establish business procedures if a clear communication plan is established.
The following points are to be covered:
- How illness and physical distance policies are utilized to safeguard workers and consumers when staying at home.
- Describe the new workplace safety and disinfection protocols that have been introduced, as well as the training that has been provided.
- Prepare any affected staff and consumers with exposure response messaging.
- Prepare media releases on issues such as return-to-work schedules, safety precautions in place, etc. And other ways the organization is assisting employees and consumers. Prepare to respond to media requests in the event of a workplace incident.
Shed Light on Compensation Packages
Many employers may have made compensation adjustments during the crisis. While others may be required to do so in order to reopen. The impact of the disruption on future pay plans will also need to be reviewed and communicated to affected employees.
Among the issues to be addressed are:
- How the company will handle any missed yearly pay raises and whether they will be retrospectively applied.
- Will there be any wage cutbacks or revocations? Understand ways to minimize exempt employee wages if necessary.
- Determine whether employee status changes (exempt to nonexempt or full-time to part-time) are required to reopen or if those already in place will be maintained.
- How would bonuses be impacted, such as qualifying for or continuation of bonuses, and so on?
- Is hazard pay going to be offered or taken away?
- As workers return to work, it may be a good opportunity to perform a pay equity audit. As pay may have been lowered or frozen, affecting women differently.
Changes in Official Policies
After attending the remote work culture, things aren’t the same in business any longer. Employers will almost certainly have to amend or create policies to reflect the new reality. Here are a few ways for it:
- Paid-leave policies have been tweaked to meet legislative obligations as well as genuine business needs.
- To encourage sick employees to stay at home, attendance requirements have been eased.
- Procedures for requesting time off have been updated to highlight when the employer may require time off if sick employees must be sent home.
- Implemented flexible schedule options, allowing for reduced workweeks and flexible start and finish times.
- Policies for meal and rest breaks were changed to stagger periods, and methods were established to encourage physical separation.
- Travel policies have been amended to reflect the difference between necessary and non-essential travel. As well as the impact of local and international travel limitations.
- Telecommuting policies are specific to the types of work that can be done remotely. As well as the procedures for requesting telework.
- Information technology rules have been updated to include hardware, software, and support for remote workers.