We’re past the worst and gradually returning to what is popularly being called “The New Normal” – but how do we get there, safely? These are some steps that businesses can take to help their employees get back to work while keeping everyone informed, calm, and – most importantly – safe.
The business challenges of going back to work
The business landscape is diverse, and many businesses operate in more than just one type of workplace. This means that there isn’t a universal approach towards ensuring employee safety that will work for all companies.
This results in a lack of clarity that can leave business leaders in the dark on how to best support back to work initiatives.
One of the main challenges businesses face is lacking the necessary infrastructure and the resources to develop it.
Larger companies will face a different set of challenges – all as varied as their organizations are large. Different roles require different types of communication, as do different work environments and multiple locations.
We’ve listened to what our clients have had to say about the challenges they face, and learning from our own experiences managing our global workforce, these are the most common challenges businesses can expect to encounter:
- How to keep employees safe and engaged?
- How to efficiently communicate with employees returning to work?
- How to regularly inform employees?
- How to provide new health and safety process updates to employees?
- How to monitor employee well-being and satisfaction?
- How to collect employee feedback?
- How to react and what to do in case of a positive case of COVID-19?
How to keep employees informed and safe
One of the most common challenges is informing employees of what to expect when they return, and what they need to do to prepare.
Probably the most effective way to keep employees informed is to use WhatsApp to send out a document with a checklist of all the things they need to do before returning. Why use WhatsApp for this? Because it allows employees to ask any additional questions they may have. These can be answered by a helpful chatbot specially built to deal with these questions.
Did you know? Building a back to office virtual assistant can be easy. Let us show you how!
With a virtual assistant bot, employees can ask any number of questions at any time of day over the most popular channels available.
Some more common employee questions a bot can handle are:
- “Will I need to wear a mask?”
- “What is the company doing for me if my children aren’t back in school, yet?”
- “What day are we due back again?”
These questions range from health to work-related, as well as general questions. All advice provided by virtual back to work assistant bots can be tailored specifically to the employee’s branch and location. In practical terms, this means that if your branches in Slough and Swindon open on different dates, employees from each branch will receive information corresponding to their respective branches.
Communicate new shifts and working hours
Social distancing guidelines will necessitate new shift patterns and working hours, which most business have already implemented.
New shifts and hours can be communicated to employees over their preferred channel for optimal efficiency. Employees can use the same channel to volunteer for earlier shifts, or request changes – all by asking the bot to make the necessary changes in the company’s system. These changes can then be communicated to employees involved in the change with personalized live updates in real time.
Engaging employees and collecting feedback
A common challenge for businesses re-opening offices is helping employees feel engaged and providing them a platform for feedback.
Morale, satisfaction, and productivity can be actively monitored using reporting tools that check the results of bot surveys.
Bots can conduct surveys, and feed information back to relevant departments. They can also be used as a channel for employees to offer suggestions or voice concerns.
COVID-19 related concerns
Even with the strictest precautions in place, COVID exposure is still a possibility. Employees dealing with this sensitive issue will want to have direct communication with their human resources representative.
For sensitive situations like this, it’s crucial to have a contact solution that facilitates human takeover – in this instance, management or an HR representative.
This will allow the exchange of sensitive information in a secure environment, ensuring employees are kept protected.
Get Answers for all back to work questions
Employees will have questions throughout the ramp-up period as they return to work. Support the employees who support your business by getting Answers for any questions they may have – and help keep everyone safe.