1. Here’s how you should manage the ‘great return’
As more companies reopen offices, it’s crucial to handle this historic moment with empathy, care and compassion for workers. Remember, many of them would be delighted to never commute again. However, many are extremely eager to get back to work. There is power in proximity and collaboration in person, and a physical office makes it easier to build and sustain a healthy culture, spark innovation, bolster employee engagement and retention, and facilitate more robust results. But studies show that post pandemic, employees expect a hybrid environment, and organizations of all kinds are rethinking their work spaces. Indeed, most folks seem to be pursuing some variation of “hybrid” work moving forward, so you might consider a flexible arrangement that suits your unique workforce.
2. Support your female superheroes juggling impossible situations
Profound gender imbalances persist in the workforce. As USA Today noted, “superhero” moms face an impossible amount of tasks during the ongoing pandemic. The burdens have been especially heavy on women of color. The number of women with child care-related absences in any month more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. Women accounted for 84% of all workers who missed work in the average month last year due to child care issues – a five-year high. The takeaway: Female staffers are holding up more than their fair share of the sky right now, and they merit every ounce of support (and child care benefits) your company can muster.
3. Deploy the profound power of appreciation
Do your employees feel valued? If not, brace for turnover. According to EBN, employees are “desperate” for appreciation from their managers: “Forty percent of employees say they feel unrecognized for the work they’ve been doing during the pandemic, according to a report by the Achievers Workforce Institute. A quarter of employees say they plan to quit their jobs once the pandemic is over, according to a survey by Eagle Hill Consulting.” Sometimes, just a simple “thank you” will do. However you show gratitude, be mindful of people’s time. Be sensitive about how much time you’re taking. That’s one way to show respect to your people.
4. Shore up your wellness framework
Regardless of your workplace well-being program’s status, it’s always wise to revisit best practice basics. SHRM offers a nine-step framework to “establish and design” a robust wellness program. The toolkit offers communication tips, too, including:
- An attention-generating program rollout.
- A wellness program logo and slogans for various components of the program.
- Visible endorsement and participation by upper management.
- Wellness education based on sound research.
- Persuasion of employees based on anecdotal situations.
- Sustaining the message and the program over several years.
- Multiple avenues of communication, such as e-mail, fliers and presentations.
- Repetition of the message.
- Keeping the message fresh with new information.
5. Build a business case for a culture of health
Harvard University now offers courses on building a corporate culture fueled by well-being. The school writes: “To advance building a Culture of Health, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health developed three unique programs to train executives and corporate teams to develop and implement Culture of Health practices in their organization: