As we begin a new year and reflect on our experiences, it’s human nature to reimagine and reinvent ourselves to forge a path forward that’s defined by growth.
On the heels of a year punctuated by a global health event and significant change, businesses are reimagining the workplace, and the very way in which work gets done. As they do so, a focus on safety and resilience will be paramount as businesses bring workers back to a transformed workplace.
At the beginning of the global health event, initial fear of the unknown was accompanied by stressors that we’re all now familiar with like managing childcare needs, coping with a sense of isolation, trouble completing tasks and adjusting to the technology as workers adapt to working solely from home – the list goes on.
Yet many workers quickly adapted to the workplace changes, growing more resilient in the face of the challenges of a global health event and social disruption.
Employers need to recognize and build on that resilience by supporting their employees as they continue to adapt and grow amid changing working conditions. In order to thrive in the new world of work, businesses themselves need to be flexible enough to continually respond to new realities.
To adapt, companies are searching for rapid, real-time data to reveal gaps and empower nimble and impactful decision-making. At the same time, they’re placing a greater emphasis on the well-being of their workers to create a workplace where everyone can work confidently and thrive.
The first step in bringing employees back to the workplace is understanding their readiness and accounting for both the business need and employee experience. Mobile tools are allowing business leaders to stay connected to their workforce and make actionable decisions in near real-time.
Through employee readiness surveys and health attestations, considered against the latest pandemic data, businesses can make more informed decisions on who to bring back and the right timelines for doing so to help ensure comfort and safety.
In the workplace, it’s important for employers to provide safe workspaces with features like physical spacing, barriers, sanitizer and personal protective equipment. Additionally, technology including touchless time kiosks that use facial recognition and voice commands can help transform workforce management practices to reduce communal points.
To make workers feel as comfortable as possible, employers need to clearly communicate everything they are doing to protect the workforce. This reassurance can help relieve employees’ stress and help them refocus their attention on their work.
Supporting employee engagement
For nearly a year, employers have dramatically increased their use of technology to keep their workforce engaged. While virtual gatherings and communication might not always offer a perfect alternative to in-person connection, virtual check-ins can go a long way in maintaining employee productivity and engagement.
Employers can check in with workers to ensure they’re connected to the work they’re doing and that they’re receiving the support they need to be both productive and confident, despite any physical distance.
Many employers continue to take their employees’ concerns seriously and look for ways to respond to and lessen their fears. According to ADP data, employer calls for guidance on wellness issues, including benefits, paid time off and employee assistance programs increased 40% year-over-year.
Of course, the root cause of many of these stressors are the health anxieties posed by the pandemic. As the workplace continues to reinvent itself amid a changing operating environment, the expectation is that many workplaces will continue to offer flexible working opportunities, from remote work to hybrid models, with workers going into the office just a couple of days a week on a staggered schedule for example.
While 2020 certainly presented many challenges, companies that seize the opportunities within them will emerge in 2021 on stronger footing with a workforce primed to drive the business forward.