Growth through Talent

4 step guide to thriving in the post-COVID-19 workplace

 18th May 2020

As we enter our ninth week of lockdown, with 7.5 million people currently furloughed, it’s safe to say our world has significantly changed in a matter of months. Whilst this has been great news for the environment, it has created uncertainty for businesses and employees alike. The release of the UK’s Exit Strategy and Furlough Scheme Extension has given us the framework and glimmer of hope we need to start making plans to bring our workforce back!
Whilst this is all very exciting, our ‘workplace’ is a very different place than it was two months ago, so before you start road mapping for the future, here are a few things you need to consider. 

1. Wellbeing & Health

Arguably, the most important skill you’ll need to bring to your strategy planning is empathy. This Pandemic has been stressful on everyone and understanding that each person is going through their own struggle will be crucial in creating a successful strategy. If you haven’t already done so, we’d recommend having a check-in with your team, even if you’re not looking to bring them back for a few months, this simple gesture will help keep furloughed employees engaged (which is difficult to do when they’re not allowed to work!). When you do speak to your team, see how they are doing and be as transparent as possible with them about your plans and when they can roughly expect to come back to work. Through this conversation you will be able to asses if it’s in their best interest to bring them back right away and if not, what time frame may be realistic.

2. Flexibility

Working from home has become the new normal for millions of people and with the likes of Facebook and Google already announcing that employees will work from home for the remainder of 2020, it seems like we are in this one for the long haul! It’s important to reassure employees that you will only return to an office when everyone feels safe to do so.
With schools and nurseries still shut, the typical 9-5 workday may not be feasible for everyone. Being flexible in start times and re-adjusting meetings for people as they juggle multiple plates during this time will go a long way for employees and help them be as productive as possible. 
3. Training
Training is something people can do whilst on furlough so this can be implemented right away. Not only will this be great for their development, but it will allow them to stay up to date with industry changes and hit the ground running from day one.
4. Employees Returning
When furlough ends, it’s important to realise that people may have been off work for over four months. During this time they will have developed new routines and may not have any experience in working remotely. Make sure you share tips and tricks that will help them be successful whilst working from home. As we all work remotely, those side of desk chats won’t be as frequent so it’s important to have consistency and frequency with catch-ups. Put a re-occurring calendar invite in their diary, and where you would catch up once a week in person, increase the frequency to ensure you are both staying in touch.
Finally, keeping morale up and employees motivated during this time will be critical. We’re confident most people have had their fair share of ‘virtual pub quizzes’ so be creative in ways to keep the culture alive whilst being remote. Every day, new virtual experiences are popping up, why not try a virtual escape room or virtual murder mystery? 
Stephanie Piercey
Digital Marketing Consultant
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