Easing the return to work in 2021
The first week of January is always a struggle; getting back to work and into a routine. Stuffed full of festive treats and feeling sluggish nobody wants to hear their morning alarm go off when it’s cold and miserable outside. And this January is set to feel even trickier for workers with many still contending with local lockdowns and working from home remaining the norm.
As we head into 2021, we say goodbye to a year that has significantly changed the way we work. While businesses and employees across the country have adapted well, it’s fair to say there have been challenges along the way – from home working to adapting to an increasingly digital living and working space. As these trends look set to continue, and perhaps become the norm it’s important employers consider how best to support employees so they can fly into 2021.
With this in mind, Amy Tomlinson, Head of HR at MetLife, shares her top tips.
- Start the year with a bang – Why not keep some of the festive spirit going by engaging with employees and hosting workplace virtual events – whether that’s a simple team tea break, a quiz, fun training or a general weekly chat. With the December calendar full of workplace fun events, it can be difficult kickstarting January without any festivities on the horizon.
- Stay sympathetic – It’s been a difficult time for workers. Job security, pay-cuts, working from home has taken its toll. For some, they might be returning to work after being on furlough. By staying aware of what employees are struggling with, employers can spot who needs help and how to provide it. And understanding that some employees might be feeling anxious, concerned or unhappy can go a long way to helping them through.
- Create an environment where people can speak up –
If employees feel safe and able to share any mental health challenges, employers will be able to identify the risks and devise strategies to better manage issues. Businesses need to learn how to start conversations and reduce the stigma around mental ill health at what can be a very overwhelming and lonely time of year.
- Support their overall well-being – Traditional benefits – such as retirement, medical, and dental insurance – provide a safety net for employees. But as the world changes and new ways of working accelerates, this is altering what employees want from their employers. A more holistic approach to benefits that supports employees is emerging. Employers who support employees in and out of the workplace can help ensure both will thrive today and, in the years, to come.
- Keep your employees motivated – Set new targets for teams, and perhaps encourage a bit of friendly competition across the office airwaves. Helping to communicate about the future and introducing any new business benefits or incentives and generally including employees can go a long way to getting your employees excited about being back.