Return to Work course offers effective ways to manage a safe working environment post-lockdown

15th July 2020

With many returning to work after lockdown, it’s clear that the workplace or education campus will be a very different experience to before the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest addition to our Future Ways of Working Toolkit focuses on returning to work/campus. Justin Cuckow from Incident Ready Consulting, takes us through some of the processes involved in developing the e-learning module and why it’s such an important course for team leaders.

 

Return to Work was originally a component of Marshall’s Future Ways of Working Toolkit – why has a whole further module been developed on the subject?

Lockdown has seen people living hugely different experiences. While some staff worked remotely and enjoyed their gardens, many others were furloughed or worried about their families, finances, mental health or were stuck indoors with small children and caring responsibilities while still working. It’s vital to explore this across teams that will have experienced this time so differently. The Return to Work e-learning module helps all staff reflect and reconnect.

Lockdown has also seen the most significant change to ways of working in decades. New delivery models have seen a huge move to online and the way in which teams interact has also changed with virtual meetings. Organisations are wanting to make sure their teams can be both productive and inclusive of all team members’ realities as staff return from furlough, whether to the workplace or staying at home. Getting everyone to reflect on the new circumstances and ways of working is an opportunity to re-boot expectations and ensure teams are being supportive of each other. Having honest conversations about the realities of home life, caring responsibilities and what flexibility is available at work is key to helping everyone settle back in.

Some organisations, such as universities, already used Future Ways of Working but have decided to extend with this new resource, why is that?

The Return to Campus e-learning module covers university-specific elements including online teaching, safety in laboratories and the new reality for professional services staff including those that are student facing. Exploring being physically back on campus and how it will look and feel to staff is an important part of providing a warm welcome back to the (physical) workplace. Universities are looking to ensure that not only are they meeting the Health & Safety requirements and keeping people safe, but also that they are clearly setting out what is expected of staff, too, and where they can go for further support or to raise concerns.

Does Return to Work primarily cover Health & Safety?

Every organisation rightly puts the physical safety of its people first; however, this e-learning module reflects the wider reality of team performance. For many staff, lockdown has brought entirely new ways of working, whether that’s online teaching or working from home, or managing remote teams. New ways of working significantly impact student/team member experiences. Universities, for example, want to make sure that their teams can work together to make that experience as fantastic as possible for their students.

Marshall is well-known for its work in diversity and inclusion, is that relevant in any way to Return to Work?

Absolutely. The e-learning module helps to explore how different people have experienced the last few months of lockdown. Being inclusive and recognising and supporting diversity will help bring out the best in everyone.

With the benefits of Return to Work e-learning for universities – will there be a student version?

For universities, the return to campus in autumn will be hugely different for freshers and for returning students. In the same way that staff need to be warmly welcomed back, so do students. We’re in the process of building a new module to explore what the return to campus will look and feel like from a student’s perspective, from moving-in weekend to picking up new timetables and going out and about and socialising on campus. Delivering a fantastic student experience starts with getting the welcome right.

New ways of working bring new risks to delivery. How is this being considered?

Most organisations have been running incident management teams during this crisis and have activated business continuity plans. For many, this has identified gaps in preparedness. Embedding resilience into operations, both in preparation for further waves of coronavirus and also to make sure that new ways of working still have a robust plan B in place, is critical for ongoing success, especially as places like universities head into a period of huge changes. Over the summer, we’ll be working on further modules to help universities ensure they can build and embed robust and flexible incident management and business continuity plans that will be resilient in the face of organisational change and crisis.

 

Here to help

If you’ve not seen the Future Ways of Working Toolkit yet, or would like more information about the Return to Work e-learning module, then contact us today and we’ll send you the details. There is a free version of the toolkit available to all our clients and there’s also a commercial premium version, so you can still make use of the resource without being a client.

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