3 Steps to Take in Advance
In case you haven’t noticed, things are starting to return to normal despite warnings from the federal government.
In many places, schools are already open on a regular schedule.
Restaurants are being allowed to open at almost total capacity, if not entirely at capacity.
Airlines are starting to fill up again with vacation travelers.
More people have been vaccinated.
Soon companies will start to call their workers back into the workplace.
The return to work will be more complicated than you might imagine.
Some companies will expect proof of vaccination.
How will your company respond to someone who won’t take the vaccine?
Will you fire them? Allow them to continue working from home?
What if they are a 27-year-old woman concerned about the effect of the vaccine on her ability to conceive? What if she is an expectant mother?
Will your company do temperature checks upon arrival?
What sort of spacing will exist between workers?
If you plan on calling your people back to your offices, I can think of three things you need to do to prepare.
1. Organize in advance. You have decisions to make about scenarios like the ones I’ve illustrated. At the enterprise level, leadership, in conjunction with HR, needs to communicate these decisions to managers on the front line. Can they work from home one or two days a week? Think as many things through in advance of the return. Can they have flexible hours?
2. Gradually return structure. If you think things will immediately return to how it was before, you are lying to yourself. Your people probably haven’t seen one another in a year. There will be tears and laughter. It may feel like everyone has returned from a long vacation and need to catch up. As you probably did at the beginning of the pandemic, you will need to lead with empathy before re-directing people. Don’t think of it as two days and announcing, “OK, people! Back to work!” It will happen naturally.
3. Take time to re-connect with them. Make the time to meet with your people individually and catch up. Talk about their adjustment to being back in the office. How are their children adjusting? How their husbands, wives, and partners are doing? Returning to old routines in families may be complicated? What is their commute like? Ask questions and listen. Is it possible to return to their previous schedule flexibly over a few months?
Now is the time for leadership to plan for the return.
It isn’t far away.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smartsets.
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