Over the course of this past quarter, kicking off 2021, there has been a noticeable increase in incidents based on many different factors related to employees returning to the office. When employees are transitioning from what may be the comfort of a virtual workplace and enter into an unknown or potentially toxic office environment, it is no surprise that discomfort and abnormality might surface. But there are measures that employers can take to make the transition smoother and less stressful.
During this time of transition, the focus on nurturing employees and listening to the questions and concerns they have is incredibly important. Alicia Valdez, our Director of Client Success, offers some tips for business leaders to consider as their employees transition from the virtual workspace back to an office environment:
- Communicate Beforehand: Because employees may be apprehensive about returning to the office, employers should consider communicating to their employees before they return to the office about the differences they may experience upon return. This communication could range from new post-COVID protocol to new procedures for scheduling team meetings, etc… For those employees who are anxious about returning, early and open communication helps them be aware of what they will experience when they return to work and prevent surprises.
- Ensure Safety and Wellbeing: Employees need to know that their employers are making their safety and wellbeing a priority. COVID protocol should be clearly communicated and understood by all business leaders and employees. Employers may want to conduct a brief orientation, town hall, or training for all employees returning to the office to ensure that they understand and comply with office safety measures.
- Listen with Empathy: As employees return and settle into the office environment, taking time to check in with them and listen to their concerns and suggestions can go a long way in establishing trust and buy-in. Soliciting feedback about their experience returning to the office can help employers understand both the positives and the negatives of the process from an employee perspective, giving employers key insights on adjustments that may enhance the process for future employees returning to the office.
- Provide Effective Reporting: While employers may implement measures to ensure as smooth a transition as possible, they should also have effective reporting measures in place for employees to report incidents when things go wrong. Employees need to know an employer’s procedures for how to report harassment or discrimination that they experience themselves or witness other employees experiencing. Ideally, the reporting solution should be handled efficiently and entirely by a third-party to ensure impartiality and that the employees’ voices are heard without fear of retaliation.
At Work Shield, we know there is no better feeling for employees than being able to voice concern and speak up when things are uncomfortable or abnormal. Employees want to feel safe when they come to work, and it’s easy to come to work when everything is going according to plan. But when employees come to work and experience harassment or discrimination, they want to feel empowered to speak up and be heard without fear of retaliation. They want a platform to report incidents with complete impartiality. Without a proper solution and specialized caring professionals in place to handle these incidents, it is impossible to find a meaningful resolution to employees’ concerns.
Work Shield’s solution allows employees’ concerns to be heard through our impartial and confidential reporting process. We create the rock-solid trust factor that gives employees and employers alike the peace of mind to ease back into a sense of normality without the fear of returning to shouting into the void when discrimination or harassment incidents arise. To learn more about our solution, visit us at workshield.com.