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6 Ways to transition employees into the post-pandemic work environment

The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the most devastating events of this decade. It changed the way organisations work, shifting the work environment to fit health and safety protocols. Now that the world is moving towards a new normal, it’s crucial to promote health and wellness and do things differently.

Transitioning into the post-pandemic work setting requires several widespread adjustments, not only with your employees but also with your business. Here’s how employees can transition into the post-pandemic work environment and how to help improve their productivity.

6 tips to help employees transition into new work environment

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1. Allow hybrid workplaces and flex time

One way to help your employees transition in the post-pandemic workplace is to allow for a hybrid work environment. The growth of remote job opportunities has created an exceptional opportunity to help employees thrive in the comfort of their own homes. If the company can keep it, they need to do so.

It’s easy to understand that not all companies can support a remote workforce. There are roles in companies that don’t transition well outside of company premises, especially blue-collar workers. With that said, there are several ways to do a hybrid workplace.

Start with creating a combined space that utilises tech to integrate physical spaces with proper engagement, ease of use, and equity among workers. Create clear sightlines and design your workplace for maximum employee engagement between remote and onsite employees.

Empower the remote staff with cloud collaboration technologies like video conferencing and cloud storage. Ensure that these remote employees still visit the office to prevent creating a line between them and other employees. Set realistic expectations towards productivity and commit towards better flexibility.

2. Prioritise employees’ mental health

The pandemic tested the mental fortitude of many people, especially those who enjoy going out. The same is true for employees who thrive on consistent human interaction. Many turned out okay, but some also suffered. The pandemic made companies understand the value of their employees’ mental wellbeing.

Prioritise your employee’s mental health. Start by ensuring workplace health and safety for your employees, helping them become at ease with your post-pandemic office. Communicate policies as early as possible to give people time to manage anticipated stress and life adjustments.

Break the stigma of mental health discussion at work. Commit to a mental health policy at work and build mental health awareness campaigns. Encourage open discussion between employees and management and learn how to listen.

Train managers to listen and value their team members. Remind them that establishing a positive work environment helps with productivity and can also ease their load. Have regular conversations with staff and check on their wellbeing, especially if they are losing productivity.

3. Invest in growth and wellness programmes

Employee work-life balance is one of the outstanding achievements that leading companies are trying to reach. Lessening the anxiety of your workers while helping them achieve within your workforce creates happy, productive teams. Investing in growth and wellness programmes can help your employees reach this balance.

While measuring the return on investment (ROI) of employee health and wellness is hard, it’s easy to see its effects. Investing in rewards for better physical wellbeing, mental health support, and adjustments in workplace needs can result in happy, well-rounded employees.

Conceptualise programmes that underscore the crucial needs of your staff. You want to ensure that their needs, goals, safety, and privacy are met with flying colours. Accept suggestions from the team and clarify areas of reform and what kinds of growth efforts the company will provide.

4. Ensure clear communication with your staff

Regular and clear communication with your staff is a crucial element of post-pandemic transitions. As we said before, it’s essential to keep employees informed of work-related policies and conditions that you plan to have once everything becomes business as usual.

Transparency is the key to helping ease employee stress and anxiety over health and safety. Communication should also be two-way, with management providing a way for employees to provide feedback. This will help guide what kinds of adjustments you would need to give your workplace.

Leaders would need to set the culture for the team, including not only you but everyone who manages teams. Companies must learn that there will be anxieties communicated along the way, and they should do something about it.

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5. Improve your wage situation if needed

There are endless stories of post-pandemic business woes where businesses close because their staff doesn’t want to settle for minimum wage or below it. Unfortunately, these are real stories, and if you’re struggling to retain your employees, chances are you would need to improve your wage situation.

It’s easy to brush off the employment shortage as temporary, but there’s a good chance it’s not. More and more companies are willing to pay above the minimum. In addition, even more employees are unwilling to compromise their health and safety over money that isn’t enough to pay the bills.

Improving pay conditions motivate employees to do more for the company; it also helps improve productivity. In addition, minimum wage employees with crucial roles such as receptionists, waiters, and cooks can also encourage better customer service.

6. Practise compassion and openness

With everything said and done, what employees look forward to the most about their post-pandemic transition is compassion. Some employees likely experienced struggles during the pandemic, whether financial difficulty or the loss of a loved one. Stay compassionate.

Keep an open mind when giving employees time to adapt to the situation. Transitions take time, and patience is vital. Provide safe spaces for them to adjust, share their concerns, and experience how it is to interact all over again.

Notice when employees are in pain or undergoing personal stressors, especially ones related to the transition. Some employees would need added flexibility, while others would simply need some advice. Actively listen without judging and foster this environment with your team.

Focussing on compassion in your work environment can foster better interpersonal relationships. It also helps employees appreciate the management even further and vice versa.

The bottom line

The pandemic has changed how all organisations deal with work. As we help employees transition back to the new normal, the above tips point to providing opportunities to flourish. Whether you allow flexible working hours, hybrid work environments, or better mental health programmes, your people need your support.

Try different ways to ease employees into transition. Communicate, listen, and ask for feedback. Thriving in the post-pandemic means working towards an amicable phase where everyone can do their business.

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