After weeks of lockdown, we are now seeing a gradual relaxation of the rules. While politicians are juggling measures to avoid a ‘second spike’ against the needs of the economy, business leaders need to prepare for people moving back into work, in one form or another.
While some people may be hoping for a return to where we were, in practical, psychological and emotional terms the world of work has changed, and will not go back to what it was.
Onboarding returning staff
If you are managing people who have been out of the workplace for weeks, they will need re-onboarding:
- What are the new ways of working?
- How will you keep them safe at work?
- Are there changes to clients, suppliers and partners?
- Have there been adjustments to the management team?
- Who will continue to work from home, at least some of the time?
- Can you reassure them that their job will be safe?
- What communications processes will be used?
There may be attitudinal and behavioural changes caused by homeworking or being seen as a key worker. This may require extra attention as you manage the changes.
Redundancy and renewal
If you need to reduce headcount to adapt to new business circumstances, some staff who were furloughed may now be vulnerable to redundancy. However it is often after redundancies have been made that problems start. There may be legal cases to fight, with all of the exhausting effects on the managers and potential costs.
But more fundamentally, rebuilding has to take place. Although some people may just be happy to have kept their job, the Harvard Business Review reports that within a year of redundancies, businesses typically lose 30% of the people who were retained. It was found that the best people are unwilling to stay if they themselves feel threatened and perceive management as uncaring or unprofessional.