Pandemic Fatigue: Reconnecting with Workplace

The corona vaccine is out and there are massive campaigns being run by the governments in almost all parts of the world to get their citizens immunized. It also means it’s time to go back to the business full throttle. However, with almost an entire year of virtual working, how can organizations ensure that their employees reconnect with the workplace in an organic and productive manner.

For an entire year, people have attended zoom meetings and calls, collaborated with virtual teams, and invested time and effort to acclimatize themselves to the new normal. It must not be forgotten that the normal today was an unforeseen crisis then and so many of us struggled to keep afloat.

Amidst, job losses, pay cuts, loss of loved ones, the year had taken a toll on emotional and physical well being of most of us. It also meant that people spent more time with their families, parents and caregivers did not have to constantly coordinate and manage between work and home and with time most of workers managed to find that balance.

With the promise of offices resuming normal work in near future comes more as a routine disruptor than an all positive things going back to normal situation. Can organizations proactively do something to make this transition smooth?

The below steps are a broad guideline which would help organizations prepare to welcome back the employees after a prolonged absence from offices.

  • A safe workplace: It is important that the employees feel safe to return to the office premises after a log gap. To ensure this a deep cleaning of the office premises by hiring professional cleaners can go a long way in easing the minds of the employees coming back. Rearranging the workstations to follow social distancing and avoiding large meetings in conference rooms are some of the other measures that should be taken.

  • Personal hygiene: The employees should be encouraged to follow the CoVid protocols strictly when at the workplace. The essential supplies like hand sanitizers, masks, disinfectants etc should be made available in easily accessible common areas. The common areas and washrooms need to be sanitized more often and more rigorously.

  • Policy Changes: In all likelihood Covid is not going to just vanish one day and therefore it is important that the organizations invest time to chalk out the policy changes required to accommodate the new normal. Sick leaves and remote working options would have to become more accommodative and flexible for the employees.

  • Mental Health Support: Many employees may suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks and restlessness because of long quarantine and self-isolation. The organizations need to ensure that mental health support system is put in place is not there already and existing systems be revamped to accommodate the challenges.

  • Work Hours and Productivity: It is important for organizations to ease into this new set up and not make rules set in stones. Flexible working hours, options to work remotely for a few days in the week are some of the steps which can alleviate the anxieties of employees. Employees need to be provided with everything they world need to perform their jobs effectively by ensuring that the laptops, monitors, chargers, and everything else are well accounted for.

For organizations it will also mean to reassess their situations within changing business situations. Realigning goals and objectives should be taken care of before the workforce is invited to join back in full force. Having redirected the organizational map as the first step will help realign the employees to the new goals as well which will be crucial in the way organizations reboot themselves.

Reflecting closely on what has worked, what lessons were learnt and what were the obstacles and challenges faced will provide a productive insight into what should be the way forward. Recovery will not be overnight but will take time, patience and commitment from the higher management and the organizations will have to extend the same patience to their employees as well during this transition as well.

A systematic effort will be required from the organization’s part to display recommitment towards employees and their needs. The pandemic has proven that the future belongs to the organizations that have strong people centric, humanist approach to business.

Valuing people consistently will drive the progress and help achieve milestones in these times. Refocusing on the purpose and meaning in work and translating it effectively for the employees is also the need of the hour as people are disillusioned and still shaky with a mass tragedy of this magnitude. Simple delivery on objectives alone can no longer be a measure of performance but better appraisal methods that accommodate the changed needs need to be implemented.

The recovery will be marked by focused and resilient workforce enabled by organizational policies and processes to deliver efficient results with speed, agility, and judicious use of technology. The Human Resources, therefore, have a redefined role and they need to embrace it to be able to deliver values within organizations.

Apart from following up on the fundamentals of this transition like realigning the compensation, performance and career management, labor laws and tax changes, now is also the time to become the bolder voice of change by aligning individual to the organization.

Hoping the organizations and workplaces reflect, redirect and realign to become the beacon of hope for many who are battling financial and psychological insecurities and work towards a better future for all stakeholders.

❮❮   Previous Next   ❯❯

Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written and Reviewed by Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to and the content page url.

Workplace Efficiency