How Employees Return to Work Safely?

22nd June 2021

With many office workers gradually returning to the workplace, whether full-time or working a hybrid mix, employers face challenges navigating the ‘new normal’.

Most employees expect to return to their normal place of work by early autumn, according to the latest data on homeworking attitudes by the Office for National Statistics. Its ‘Opinions and Lifestyle Survey’ found that 60% of individuals thought they would go back to their usual place of work over the next five months. This leaves employers with a lot of preparation to do.

That’s why we have created an additional ‘Return to Work’ e-Learning course. It forms part of our ‘Future Ways of Working’ toolkit. The course – which takes into account the latest Government advice – provides key information, precautions and staffing strategies to create a safe working environment post lockdown. The course is split into two parts:

Part One – Safely returning to work

As an employer, you have a legal and moral responsibility to take all practical measures to create a safe working environment for every employee returning to the workplace. This is going to be daunting, because it’s not all just common sense. However, this module provides all the necessary information required to put the changes into place to create a safe, COVID-free working environment.

Part Two – Helping people to readapt to the workplace

The thought of returning to work will prompt people to have a range of different emotions and anxieties. Recent research found that 65% of employees were suffering with return-to-work anxiety, and with many organisations eager to encourage employees back into the workplace, it’s important that steps are put in place to curb anxiety and support employees to feel comfortable going back to the office.

Interactive elements

The course has a section where Managers consider who should work from home, and what tools and support they will need to work effectively. There are also interactive activities where e-Learners can identify who is termed as a ‘high-risk’ individual.

Build your own version

The course can be customised, with bespoke scenarios relevant to your workplace and workforce. Organisations can add their own photography and policies to make it authentic and on-brand. Sector-specific versions of the course are also available.

Who is the course for?

The course is ideal for team leaders, Managers and HR staff. Learners completing this Return-to-Work e-Learning Course will be able to:

  1. Manage the risk by understanding legal responsibilities
  2. Understand who should return to work, and how to protect those at higher risk or those who should self-isolate
  3. Mitigate the risks associated with coming into and leaving the workplace, as well as high-traffic areas where staff will congregate
  4. Health and Safety strategies for cleaning the workplace and hygiene methods
  5. Plan shift patterns and working groups or ‘bubbles’
  6. Source further support and information
Additional benefits of the course:
  • Translations are available
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version available
  • Podcast included
  • Downloadable workbook
  • Smartphone version
  • End of course certificate
  • CPD certified
What else can employers do to facilitate the return-to-work process?

It’s also important to work in partnership with your employees, as you consider new approaches and ways of working in a post COVID-19 world. This begins with your risk assessment, through to setting up tentative schedules and working patterns, whilst considering office layout and seating options.

  • Encourage and support Managers to have a one-to-one return meeting with every employee, with the key focus on health, safety and well-being. This is especially important for those who have been furloughed.
  • Do not ignore any areas of potential conflict or difference of opinion, it’s better to talk through the options now than ignore it and the issues grow in size.
  • Acknowledge that people are going to feel anxious and that this is not only acceptable, but also to be expected. Have a conversation so employees can feel comfortable voicing their opinions.
  • Employers can carry out an employee survey to get a sense of how people are feeling, so they can come up with a plan ahead of time.
  • Acknowledge that there’s going to be a period of adjustment for employees returning to the workplace.
  • Once the new procedures are decided, think about how you can effectively communicate these to everyone before they return.

Once the Government advice to work from home ends (now expected in July 2021 in England) employers must take an individualised approach to consider the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of the workforce, as well as monitoring ongoing Government guidance. The Return-to-Work e-Learning course will prepare your Managers and ultimately your employees to return to the workplace in a safe and secure way.

As well as helping to reduce ‘back to work’ anxiety, it is important to remember that for many employees it is an exciting time to get back into the workplace, return to face-to-face interaction and to socialise with colleagues again.

If you would like to find out more about our Return-to-Work e-Learning course, or our Future Ways of Working toolkit, then please get in touch.

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