How to reassure reluctant staff your workplace is COVID-safe

Joe Thompson

May 14 2021

COVID-19 has affected everyone in one way or another.

With regards to your employees, they may have been affected physically or mentally. Perhaps both.

So, when your employees are returning to work, it’s important you treat the process carefully. To alleviate their fears of returning, create a COVID-safe workplace they can return to.

How to create a COVID-safe workplace

Firstly, risk assessments and health & safety measures need to be implemented. Working together with the Health & Safety Executive will ensure the workplace is compliant. When these steps are completed, communication with employees will be key.

Open dialogue about what specific fears employees may have about returning will allow you to explain what measures have been implemented. To help ease the fears of reluctant employees, you should address issues like:

  • Physical distancing.
  • Regular COVID-19 testing of employees.
  • Having sanitiser and masks readily available.
  • Co-hosting teams or working in pods.
  • Ensuring the workspace is well ventilated.
  • Facilities are cleaned & disinfected regularly.

Be transparent in your communications with employees, as doing so will build trust in what can be a fraught and emotional environment. 

Provide mental health support

The past year could have affected the mental health of some employees. Wherever practicable, provide support by offering services like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other wellness initiatives that encourage community, teamwork, and activity. Communicating the reasons why you’re returning employees to the workplace is also important.

You should ensure you have a coherent return to work plan in place before bringing employees back. Spending time on reintegrating employees back into the office will be integral to a successful return. Take time to speak to employees individually and organise training to ensure they understand their own individual responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for themselves and their colleagues. 

You might also consider a flexible approach where possible by offering graduated or part-time returns.

Need expert guidance when returning employees to the workplace?

Our advisors can provide help and support on returning your employees to the workplace. To speak with a HR or health & safety expert now, call 0800 917 0771.

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