A 4-step Guide to Returning to the Workplace

A 4-step Guide to Returning to the Workplace

Do you remember how, a few months back, every company embarked on the go-remote phase? It would not be exaggerating to say that organizations were on an adrenaline rush! Amid a stress-test for resilience, several companies began implementing their business continuity plans, while some others found it a bitter pill to swallow. The global pandemic is still continuing to play a decisive role while deriving strategic outcomes.

The lion’s share of companies that realized the importance of digital transformation held all the aces. They had been able to go remote in an agile manner while sustaining organizational culture, employee engagement, and communication. Neeyamo’s entire workforce went remote in a record-setting 24 hours, ensuring the safety of 2,000+ employees and bringing the impact on mission-critical operations close to nil. With the right technology infrastructure in the driver seat, Neeyamo’s defense-in-depth continuity plan helped the entire workforce deliver uninterrupted services to customers across business lines with high levels of accuracy.

Today, as you are reading this, times are changing fast. Companies have started bringing back their employees to their offices. Neeyamo has already begun its ‘return to work’ phase, operating at 70 -75% employee capacity across all its business centers and adhering to necessary precautions.

Through this article, we intended to cover what executive leaders need to bear in mind while devising their ‘return to office’ strategy. Here’s a 4-step plan to chalk out a ‘safe and sound’ return to workplace operations.

1. Always plan for the worst

Leaders need to plan a set of activities to prepare themselves for different scenarios while returning back to office. The activity set should comprise of action plans for contingency requirements, prioritizing business functions, and defining alternate work area choices. Last but not the least, companies need to have a defined re-exiting strategy formulated. Every day comes with surprises, and organizations can’t afford to ignore them.

2. Get the workplace return-ready

Firstly, ensuring safety at workplace is the foremost priority for organizations. This would help employees feel confident and adjust to the new work environment. Workstations and the office premises at large will have to be sanitized on a periodic basis. Secondly, it becomes imperative to rethink how workplaces need to be – common areas like cafeterias and board rooms have to conform with social distancing mandates as recommended by the government and health organizations.

3. Essential vs. Work from home construct

Organizations can construct a framework with different employee personas/workforce segments (e.g., essential, work with limitations, and continue remotely) that exist in their organizations. Segmenting the workforce will help identify a phased, soft-open, approach; the number of employees to be called to return can depend on the number of workstations, elevator capacity, availability of safety equipment etc. To minimize the chances of contagion, it is recommended to stagger the workforce and limit the number of employees returning, and gradually increasing the headcount.

4. Think about short-term and long-term implications

HR leaders need to peruse the implications that this ‘return to work’ strategy is going to introduce into their workplaces. Short-term implications can include the increased need for a communication strategy that reflects employee sentiment, employee support, and leave flexibilities; while long-term implications can comprise of the need for rethinking employee value proposition, critical skills, leadership behavior, and managerial capabilities that would have an impact on organizational objectives in the long run.

Irrespective of what industry you are operating in, if you are looking to transition your workforce to your physical office space, it is pivotal that you take adequate measures to ensure the movement is smooth and safe. To learn about added measures that Neeyamo has taken while transitioning its employees back to its workplace, drop us a line via irene.jones@neeyamo.com. We are all ears!

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