This week, as the Government hinted at a phased return to normality, Cordant released ‘returning to the workplace’ guidance to employees to arm them with the tools, and advise, to prepare and be accountable.
As the lockdown slowly lifts, we’ll need to embrace a new normal, where social distancing rules still apply, and a flexible way of working is the norm.
A flex workforce will be invaluable during this time to ease risk, and pressure in office environments, but how should an agile workforce be managed during this heightened state of caution, anxiety and even paranoia?
This is a new adjustment for many, and there will be people out there who have a negative view on flexible working. Statements like; “If I can get into the office they can”; “I’m taking a risk why aren’t they?”… might be all too familiar. What we need to remember is that these changes are about public safety… they’re not a perk or a benefit.
One thing we have learned from the pandemic is that most working practices can be carried out remotely – organisations in survival mode will be tracking productivity and employees who are loyal will out to prove themselves, no matter where they do it from!
If you’re managing a team in the new era, and their role doesn’t require them to be on-site, encourage them to keep working remotely even as lockdown restrictions relax.
Make use of digital collaboration software and video conferencing to stay connected.
As the lockdown lifts, offices and workspaces will still need to enforce social distancing which will be alien to employees. All changes in standard protocol will need to be clearly communicated. Particularly if there are processes in place to manage the number of people allowed on-site at one time.
Managers could stagger shifts or split weeks (home and the office) to limit interactions, high footfall and congestion. This also supports workers who commute via public transport and would prefer to avoid peak travel times.
Flexible workers are going to be vital for your organisation over the next few months as lockdown restrictions ease and you need to maintain business continuity. By prioritising health and safety, communicating new practices and offering support wherever it’s needed, colleagues will be motivated and driven to support your organisation in the post-Covid world.