Put it down to experience
The last couple of tips (‘Return journey’ and ‘Home from home‘) discussed a number of considerations when implementing changes to working practices as we transition from lock-down to the various phases of business recovery. In addition to these practical considerations, however, we need to give due consideration to the people involved.
Everyone will have been affected in some way by their experiences of the last few weeks and months, some more significantly than others. Some will have found life particularly difficult, for a variety of reasons. Many will have found the experience stressful, to varying degrees, but for a small proportion this may have resulted in significant psychological issues.
Some may have suffered serious health issues, either from catching the virus or other conditions. Some may have lost loved ones. Some may have experienced relationship difficulties or other emotional issues related to, for instance, loneliness or anxiety or chronic stress or being cooped up with ‘difficult’ people.
The point is that we need to recognise that people will have had different experiences, the impacts of which haven’t necessarily gone away just because we may be moving into a new phase of business recovery.
Our duty of care as employers extends to mental as well as physical health. We therefore need to ensure that HR teams and line managers are able to deal with potentially unfamiliar issues. This may require education or training in how to spot the signs that all is not well with their colleagues and to provide appropriate assistance.
Getting back to ‘normal’ may not be a quick or easy process for some, but recognising this and creating an environment that provides the necessary support for those who may need it will go a long way to easing the transition.