Many employees face going back to work in the weeks ahead, perhaps including you.
Will things be the same as they were? It’s unlikely. That’s why you might be feeling a bit worried about the uncertainty. If so, you’re not alone.
A survey conducted by MindMap Advance Research found that around 93% of employees are stressed about returning to office post-lockdown. And 85% want safety guidelines enforced too.
The survey found 59% are concerned about their health, 25% are worried about money, and 16% fear the crisis is far from over.
Most specifically you’re wondering what will be different going forward.
Health & Safety
Of course the number one concern is how comfortable you’ll feel working with others once again. What needs to be done to ensure you feel safe to work in your office?
Is the company taking appropriate health and safety measures such as temperature checks, advanced cleaning services, and revised seating plans? How will clients and outside contractors be handled when they visit the workplace? And what’s the company’s policy if a fellow worker tests positive?
Evaluate what measures are being put in place and how well the company is justifying or explaining them, especially if someone tests positive. You should also try to find out how much training is being provided on new measures or procedures.
If you’re one of the first workers back, will you be expected to train others?
Another point to consider is whether or not there are any government or industry standards in place and if your company is compliant.
You want to be sure that the company is providing genuine safety and not just the perception of it, especially if you or someone you live with is in one of the high-risk groups for the coronavirus.
Remote Working and Working Hours
Many businesses probably assume that remote working is temporary, while others are rethinking the idea that employees are less productive when working from home. Research is showing that many workers can in fact be highly productive without going to an office.
Does it make sense for businesses to bring all their employees back into the office? That will depend on a case by case basis for individual companies and workers too.
If the option is available, how do you feel about continuing to work from home? Would you prefer to keep your newly-adopted home office? And if your employer isn’t receptive to the idea, do you feel strongly enough about it to consider looking elsewhere?
A key topic to consider is when you do your best work. Working from home gives you more flexibility to be more productive. After all, some people are larks and others are owls and work best in the morning and evening accordingly. Choosing your own schedule could be a huge factor in how much you get done.
This could a significant factor if you have to negotiate greater work from home privileges than your employer is initially willing to provide.
Perhaps your company will try out a smaller set of core hours to facilitate meetings and face to face interactions while still allowing at least some home working hours.
And one last thing: is there any technology your company could provide that would allow for greater flexibility at home or the workplace (or both)? Everyone will benefit as a team if things run more smoothly regardless of where they’re working.
There are few industries which haven’t been impacted by this crisis, but hospitality, entertainment, the arts and the transportation industries have taken significant hits during the lockdown. Supply chains for everyone have also been disrupted.
Therefore almost all companies are going to resume operating in stages, some more so than others. And because your business won’t be operating at anything like full capacity, you’ll need to be briefed on how many people will be returning first and in which positions. Who’s following in the next phase and the phase after that, and so on? This will allow you to prepare for who will be there beside you and who will not.
Does your company have a plan to deal with this? Do you?
If you’re seriously worried that the disruption might be too stressful for you to handle, or if you’re concerned your job might be on the chopping block because of the upheaval, now is the time to plan for the worst.
Some industries are doing well as a result of this crisis, such as cleaning services, delivery services, meal prep services, grocery stores, non-perishable goods companies (think canned and jarred foods), game makers, fitness equipment manufacturers, landscaping and gardening firms, telehealth services, and many more.
Any of these could be a golden opportunity for you. As one door closes, another will open elsewhere.
So ask yourself where else could your skills be applied. What special interests or dreams do you have that could be applied to a new job or a new career?
The sooner you have a strategy in place, the less worried you’ll feel about what’s coming as the world gradually goes back to work. Asking questions and getting answers will help you decide the best way forward and make you feel immensely better about the rest of 2020.
Do reach out for support or advice on how you can prepare for what’s coming.