'Are you planning ahead for a return to work?'

An online HR intelligence provider for employers has made the point that many firms may not be focusing on right now. “Are you planning ahead for a return to work?”

XpertHR looked in to how HR is navigating the workforce challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the research conducted, XpertHR said:

It may still seem some way off, but employees who have settled into working from home will at some point need to readjust when workplaces reopen. Some organisations are already planning ahead, with a professional services organisation looking at support for when we return to the office.

XpertHR also discussed actions that could assist the wellbeing of the workforce currently. They were:

  • Regular business updates

“A key fear is that the length of time that coronavirus will continue to pose a threat is unknown. It follows that the impact on organisations is also uncertain – businesses themselves don’t know how long they will need to stay closed, or the long-term impact on their business levels or viability. This can develop into a deep worry for employees, so many organisations are ensuring that regular communications are sent out on the current status of the business. A professional services firm is holding “regular updates to provide information and assurance about the business and job security”, while another is providing “regular firm-wide communications from leadership and being transparent and open”. Several respondents noted that communications from directors and leaders in the business are being used to deliver regular messages around the business strategy.”

  • Practical hints and tips on working from home

“For many organisations, the work continues but is delivered by employees largely from home. The adjustment to homeworking will be easier for some than others, and there may be technical hurdles to overcome. Any anxiety about being able to continue to deliver a professional service can be alleviated by being provided with all the tools set up to work safely and effectively and advice from HR on areas such as how to run a meeting remotely. There may also be a need for a focus on physical health at home, ensuring that employees think about posture, or take regular breaks, which can happen more naturally in an office environment. Many organisations have put out communications on creating a safe working environment at home, via email or content on a company intranet.”

  • Virtual social activities

“Virtual social events have become something of a symbol of the coronavirus pandemic, with platforms that allow many people to gather at once becoming commonplace. While the technology has facilitated a smooth transition to home-working for many, the range of social activities that they are being used for varies widely, including staff quizzes; lunchtime bingo; Friday virtual drinks; yoga sessions; cooking classes; coffee mornings; meditation; a knitting group; and a colouring group.”

  • Not forgetting furloughed

“Staff Workers that have been furloughed are not allowed to carry out work for their employer, but organisations must remember to keep them up-to-date on what is happening in the business, in order to maintain their engagement and wellbeing whilst not working.”

XpertHR surveyed 400 HR managers from a range of businesses to find out how they are managing employee health and wellbeing during this time.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.