Working in the Next Normal

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

So by now your organization’s workforce:
a) has returned to work;
b) started to return to work;
c) are planning their eventual return to work; or
d) has always been at work (with a personal shoutout to my wife and all the other nurses!)

No doubt, you and your team have been planning how to make the workplace as safe as possible. 

So let’s say that’s a given.  Let’s assume the return to work will be as safe as possible.  You’ve ensured, as best you can, that the physical conditions of the next normal will be as safe as they can be.

Very good.

So We’re Good to Go, Right?
Well, maybe.  And also, maybe not.
Your people will be back physically, but where are they mentally?  Where’s their head at?
Are they glad to be back?  Do they feel safe to be back?  And what’s it like at home?  How’s their partner?  their kids?  other family members?  How are they financially?

Understandably, our focus has been on the medical aspects of the virus, then the economic/financial aspects.  And lately, we’re learning of the personal costs.
And just as businesses will not immediately be 100% just because they’ve re-opened, your people will likely not be 100%.
Sure, just as some wear masks and some don’t, you’ll have some who will be totally fine being back at work.  But it’s likely not all will be.

Some Suggestions
So here are some suggested questions for you and your managers to ask your people as they adjust to the next normal:

  • How are you doing?  How’s your family?
  • How are we doing as a company/department/team?
  • Are departments/teams coordinating properly?  If not, what can we do better?
  • Which meetings are still worth having?  Which meetings can we shorten?  Which meetings should we drop?
  • What do you need from me?  What can I do for you?
  • How safe do you feel?
  • Are you getting all the information you need?

I know the above is not rocket science.
However, given the pent up desire/need for businesses to return to work and deal with the operational and health risks of COVID-19, it can be easy to overlook the personal states of those who will ultimately navigate your organization through the uncharted waters ahead.

So take a few minutes, and check in on them.

Free Employee Re-entry Survey
For those leaders who would like to do a bit more than the above, we’ve developed a free employee re-entry survey to assess the mindset and engagement of your employees as they return and also after they’ve returned to work.  It can easily be used over time to assess your workforce’s progress as they adjust to the next normal.

If you’d like a copy, just send me an email, and I’ll be happy to send you the template, which you can modify and use with your favorite online survey platform or your enterprise system.

Be safe, stay healthy, and lead well.

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