Return to work - how to make employees feel safe

Many workplaces are making arrangements to re-open but some employees may not feel safe about returning to work, due to their fears over the coronavirus virus. As an employer, it is your responsibility to create a safe environment for your employees. However, this is likely to go beyond just thinking about PPE and could involve engaging with your staff as well. Confidence is as paramount as safety, if you are to create the best possible environment.

1. Give clarity

Commercial building

Many people are confused during this unprecedented time, possibly due to receiving mixed messages from the media. Before you invite your employees back to work, ensure you give them a clear idea of how their workplace has been adapted to make it safer, and any other changes that have been made to procedures. For example, you could send your employee a floor plan showing where new social distancing screens have been installed ahead of them returning to their place of work.

2. Talk to your employees

Talk to employees

Arrange individual calls with your employees to talk about their wellbeing and what returning to work means. Many individuals have experienced a decline in their mental wellbeing since the start of the pandemic, so reaching out to an employee and discussing their concerns with them, will make them feel safer. Getting employee feedback will also help you make important decisions about how to re-open your business.

3. Make a customer plan

Your employees may not be worried about returning to work, but they may be concerned about allowing customers into your premises. It is just as important to have a plan to protect your customers as it is your employees. You should therefore, reassure your employees you will introduced ways to ensure their safety in situations that require it. This could be a queue management systems and anti-bacterial screens and in some instances, you may wish to consider fever detection.

4. Address concerns over PPE

Mask

Lastly, many employees may be reluctant to return to work as they have been unable to buy items such as hand sanitiser and masks, which could make them feel safer in the workplace. Explain to your employees any plans you might have to provide additional PPE and any new cleaning regimes you are putting in place.

How we can help

HeathBrook has produced a comprehensive guide that can be used as part of your risk assessment planing. It is packed with information from reliable sources and addresses many of the considerations around the right PPE to get employees and your business ready for work. A combination of following guidelines, getting the right products for your situation and engaging with your workforce will ensure employees will be happier, safer and able to help you get your business back on track.