For the past 12 months, life as we knew it, came to a standstill. If anyone reading this has not been aware of what has been happening, then you were likely to have been at a recent party in Basingstoke. The BBC reported how a large number of partygoers told the police they “never watch the news” and were therefore oblivious to the pandemic. Ignorance is bliss so they say.
For the rest of us in the ‘real world’, the pandemic has impacted almost every facet of our lives. Everyone has been impacted in some way or another and this period has been unprecedented in modern times. There is light at the end of the tunnel though and the recent ‘Roadmap’ laid out by Boris Johnson, has allowed people to once again start planning for a return to normality.
Returning to the workplace is seen as one of the major factors in bouncing back. It’s going to be a difficult transition as a vast majority of the workforce has been at home since April last year, meaning it will be coming up to a full year since they left the office. During such an extended period, many things can, and will, have changed. The question though, is how do you manage new expectations from employees, with existing expectations from employers?
Working from home, flexitime, zoom calls and many other initiatives have arisen during this period according to Forbes. With a return now on the horizon, how many of these initiatives will remain? Employees have realised that working from home can work and that not having to commute to work every day has changed their priorities. For employers, it is about finding that middle ground, thus keeping productivity up and employees empowered.
Here are a few considerations to take note of to provide support to your employees and how we at PageTiger have tackled some of them ourselves.
Communication and compliance
Communication and engagement will be essential in successfully bouncing back and getting things fully up and running again. Employees need to be able to communicate their doubts and fears whilst employers need to be able to convey the processes and procedures, they are implementing. This is needed to provide clarity and reassurances for all involved. There are now legal statutes in place and according to the IWFM, every employer with over 50 employees will need to publish their COVID-19 risk assessment on their website.
A great way to elicit how your employees are feeling towards certain subjects is through surveys. This gives them a chance to informally let you know their emotions around certain topics or decisions. If these responses are then correctly analysed, you should be able to identify an outcome that keeps all parties satisfied and happy.
In fact, SHRM has stated that “organization responsiveness to employee feedback leads to higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, better customer service and higher employee morale”.
Once decisions have been made though, it will be imperative that everyone affected is aware of the decisions and is compliant with them. You would not want your employees coming to you after a month saying, “I had no input in this and this is not what I signed up for”. You need to ensure they are aware of what is happening and have them formally agree to it.
Our document creation software has been perfect for us, especially for these types of situations. Our software allowed us to add interactivity such as polls and quizzes to all the digital documents we sent to our staff, customers, and suppliers. It also has a full analytics suite, allowing us to track document visits, page views and stakeholder interactions, providing us with an incredible level of insight.
For example, this meant that every time a new policy was put in place, it was sent out to all members of our organization via a digital document. Within the document, every recipient was then required to give compliance in certain sections to move on and complete the document. Management was then able to access the analytics on the document and monitor the responses and check that every member completed it. They also analysed the responses from any polls or questionnaire’s elicited, and refined the processes that were then subsequently put in place.
If there was one thing that everyone has learned in the last year, it was that things can change at the drop of a hat. Not wanting to bring any more pessimism to the situation, but there is still a possibility of going back to what we just left behind. This would cause immense frustration for all, but employers still need to be ready should it occur. The speed and flexibility to make changes on the fly will determine how much of a further impact this will have on your organization.
Traditional print documents are not viable for these sorts of situations. Printing takes time, can be very expensive, is bad for the environment and requires lead time to complete a job. Digital documents however can be altered quickly, require no lead time and are not expensive or far more sustainable.
Here at PageTiger, all our staff are inducted using documents created with our software. All internal business updates such as software updates, staff movements and security compliance are created using our software. We have really benefited from having such a robust and customizable system that we used for all our communications during this turbulent time.
Getting everyone to bounce back is going to be hard work and stressful for all though. However, if everyone works together and encourages and supports each other, then we should all be able to assimilate ourselves back into our routines. There are going to be hiccups and difficulties along the way, but we all have access to the tools needed to mitigate this.
How we're bouncing back
All we know for sure is that 2021 is going to be yet another eventful year and here at PageTiger we cannot wait to get back out there. This is why we have launched our new ‘Bounce Back’ program, where we share our knowledge and experience in helping everyone bounce back to the old normality.
If you would like to sign up for our Bounce Back program, please fill in your details below. We will be sending out regular content and hosting many different initiatives all within the topic of bouncing back.