Sydney, Australia 25 June 2020: Employees’ psychological safety should be the first priority for businesses returning to the workplace, according to a new guidebook released by ELMO Cloud HR and Payroll.
The free guidebook, ‘How to make the new normal great’, recommends that businesses focus on three key areas when preparing their return to the office: psychological safety of employees; functions and processes; and understanding staffing priorities.
According to the guidebook, psychological safety is about more than just providing heightened cleaning and new office processes. It involves ensuring that all employees trust that the organisation has provided for a completely safe environment.
A component of managing the psychological safety of employees is engaging in open and transparent consultation with each individual employee. For smaller organisations, this can easily be done directly, while for larger organisations it can be achieved through managers reporting feedback and any concerns of their people back to senior leadership.
While the emotional and psychological factors are crucial, there are also tangible actions that employers can take to manage the return to the office, such as developing a physical action plan and determining a staff prioritisation plan.
A staff prioritisation plan helps leaders identify individual employees’ concerns, ascertain the need for them to be in the office and any potential risks that a particular person may be exposed to. For example, employees with auto-immune deficiencies may have particular concerns about returning to the office.
ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Monica Watt says open communication and consultation should underpin any ‘return-to-the-office’ plan, the guidebook is essential in helping business to survive a changing world beyond COVID-19.
“The most important factor for a business returning to the office is to earn employees’ trust that their safety is not going to be compromised in the office.
“There will always be factors outside the organisation’s control, whether that’s traffic or public transport troubles, but employees need to be confident that what can be controlled is being controlled.
“Businesses need to have insights into their workforce to guide this decision-making process. This is especially important when it comes to knowing which employees are more productive in the office and those that can work just fine from home.
“Taking care of the practical can help take care of the emotional. When businesses have clear processes, policies and systems in place to ensure the office is COVID-19, safe they’re going to be in a better position to communicate with employees and earn their trust.” ELMO’s ‘How to make the new normal great’ guidebook can be downloaded by businesses here.