​​​Getting back to work: Helpful tips for resuming ‘normal’ operations.  

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While recommendations from health authorities are everchanging, as I write this article the latest government advice regarding COVID-19 signals many businesses in Western Australia – depending on their industry – can soon encourage staff to return to work in a face-to-face capacity, as long as appropriate health and safety measures are implemented.

This news is likely to be well received by business owners. Finally your team can be under the one roof again! And for employees, this may also be a welcome relief. Perhaps they were contending with a serious juggling act of home schooling while trying to work, or were forced to operate in an environment not conducive to productivity (not everyone has a study - or even a kitchen table!).

For others though, the opportunity to work remotely may have been a resounding success and led to a lifestyle change they are reluctant to give up. A 0km commute had meant a work-life balance not previously experienced, and minimal colleague distraction may have resulted in greater focus and concentration. I don’t doubt that many business owners have seen an increase in productivity as a by-product in all of this.

But regardless of how you and your team managed during this time, coming together after weeks in isolation will undoubtedly encounter teething problems. It would be careless to assume it will be business as usual, so I wanted to share my thoughts on how employers can approach the next phase of our ‘new normal’ to ensure the back to office transition is as smooth as possible.

  • Be aware of how your staff commuted pre COVID-19. Are they now scared of using public transport? Do they own their own vehicle and are prepared to drive? What parking options are available? It may be safer and logistically easier for some team members to continue to work from home – at least until a mutual solution can be found. It’s important for employers to have a duty of care to their employees at this time.
  • Leading on from this, it’s critical that employers implement measures to maintain minimum standards for physical distancing and demonstrate their health and safety obligations to employees. Consider: 
    •  Staggering start and finish times – can your employees operate in shifts?
    • Adjusting your floorplan to ensure 1.5m distancing between desks.
    • Removing the option for hot desking.
    • Avoiding holding meetings in small rooms or change the meeting environment to ensure a minimum 1.5m distance between team members.
    • Providing hand sanitiser for each team member.
    • Increasing cleaning in high-traffic/common areas such as bathrooms, the kitchen, water cooler and coffee machine zones.
    • Proactively encouraging staff to maintain a clean workstation and adopt healthy hygiene habits – hand wash, cleaning products and A4 signs dotted around the office will help with this.
  • Spend time thinking about how each of your staff performed remotely. Perhaps there were individuals who were more productive during this time, and could suit flexibility with their contact hours? This would likely require a bigger picture discussion across your business - but now is the time to objectively look at how your employees worked during this time. If they were more productive, less stressed and generally happier – perhaps by introducing flexible hours in the long-term your business may be better off? 
  • Be prepared for it to take time. When this all began, the first 1-2 weeks were stressful – employers and employees needed to make huge adjustments in their lives and in a very short space of time. So don’t expect for a transition back into the office to happen quickly. If you can relax your thinking here, you will be putting your staff at ease which will ultimately result in a calmer and less stressed environment for all.

I think that ultimately, business owners should be mindful that an ease in restrictions does not mean life will be as it was pre COVID-19. People’s attitudes have changed, their priorities have likely shifted and there are new logistical challenges to be considered. But to ensure a harmonious return to work, and to enable staff to feel comfortable about being back in the office, it’s important that business owners are patient, understanding – and can ensure a safe and healthy environment for all.

Crisdale Recruitment Group and Blue Stampede will return to our offices as soon as restrictions allow us to do so. In the meantime, our ‘virtual’ doors remain wide open as we operate from the safety of our homes. If you would like to discuss our recruitment services, or have any employer/employee questions related to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Words from our clients.

  • Angelina and her team have demonstrated a very high professional standard, helping execute our recruiting requirements seamlessly. Cosh Living would not hesitate in recommending Crisdale Recruiting for your recruiting requirements.
    Guy March
    National Sales Manager, Cosh Living
  • I have worked with Angelina over the past 6 years, (and her organisation recruited me to my current role). Angelina understands our business, and the calibre of people we are looking for. She always provides excellent support for her candidates, as well as in my recruitment needs. You couldn't find a more professional service.
    Vanessa Barlow
    Human Resources Manager
  • Thank you so much Angelina for helping us recruit our new lawyer into our team. In a very tight market you found us the right person for the position. Your commitment, communication, professionalism and delivery is greatly appreciated. Natasha and Justin, Peninsula Personal Injury Lawyers
    Natasha Zupanov
    Owner, Peninsula Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Angelina at Crisdale Recruitment Group has been so kind, and their expertise in what they do has resulted in finding me a new position. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Crisdale Recruitment Group for all aspects of recruitment.
    Jill Gipson
    Candidate