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Why a Phased Return to Work Plan Works

06 September 2021

The world has been paralyzed for more than a year due to the pandemic, with practically every country going into countrywide lockdowns. 

This situation has influenced almost every company, as individuals were obliged to work from home given the current scenario. 

On the other hand, businesses had begun to use a phased return to work plan when vaccines were introduced, and countries began reporting substantially fewer cases.

Reintroducing traditional work practices when people were warming to the idea of a hybrid workplace would make workers uneasy and unsure. As a result, developing a proper return-to-work strategy was critical.

If everything is going correctly in this hybrid system, then why bother changing? Even if your organization has the best hybrid office arrangement, physical interaction is required for improved teamwork. 

As a result, workers had to return to their offices sooner or later. The question that emerges here is why a gradual return to work is recommended. 

To comprehend this, we must first define a return-to-work strategy, as this will assist us in understanding its significance.

Young people with face masks back at work in office after lockdown.

What Does it Mean to Return to Work in Phases?

The goal of a phased or gradual return to work is to return people to work gradually. This procedure necessitates some assessment. If you want to bring back personnel in stages in the event of the current pandemic, you should undertake the required return to office risk assessment.

Work from remote sites is an option for certain employees. Others, however, must be brought in quickly. Essentially, the idea is that you must first determine the locations of your office workers, after which you may get the employees to their corresponding areas.

You will better understand this situation if you do not approach it from a covid-centric perspective. When a worker returns to work after a long absence due to illness or maternity leave, organizations frequently use it. When a worker returns, they are assigned lower responsibilities and are required to work for fewer hours. In a nutshell, workers are given some leeway in a phased strategy so that they can acclimate.

We understand if you are wondering why this is the case. This is because of the possible benefits, which have led us to conclude that a gradual return to work strategy is the way to go. 

Since we recently experienced a pandemic, it is preferable to bring back workers in this manner and provide them with a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy atmosphere, complete with all necessary changes in your workplace. Let us have a look at them now.

Why is it Necessary to Divide the Back to Work Session into Phases?

As a manager, you have probably observed how difficult it is for your staff to transition to this new work schedule that they were introduced to at Covid. After all of that, most of them would find it impossible to return to the office. 

The majority of them would be hesitant to go to busy areas. In this case, phasing the return-to-work session appears to be a reasonable alternative.

You can regain your employee's trust by implementing a gradual return to work strategy. People want time and space to acclimate to shifting work trends, so you should do so in stages, even if you are reintroducing them to the workplace. 

Furthermore, you will have more room to provide them with a physically and emotionally healthy atmosphere as well as a flexible work culture.

Business people wearing protective face masks while holding a presentation on a meeting during coronavirus epidemic

HR Team's Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Phased Return to Work Plan

You have probably figured out that a gradual return to work plan is the best way to preserve social distance in a hybrid work environment while also providing a healthy work environment for your employees. 

The next item to grasp is the action strategy for carrying out this work plan and ensuring that everything runs well. We have put together a comprehensive guide to assist you in comprehending each tier you will need to assess.

Appropriate Employee Allocation

You must assess each employee's responsibilities and decide how to group them in your phased return to work plan. It is preferable if members of the same team would work in the same manner. 

It is not easy to manage teams with some remote individuals and others who are physically cooperating. As a result, all employees working on a single project and who tend to collaborate should be in the same phase of the work plan.

The Health and Safety Measures Have Been Evaluated

Since the epidemic began, people have been more worried about workplace health and hygiene circumstances, as you are aware. 

As a result, it is preferable to limit the number of employees and organize the workstations to maintain the required social distance. 

It can also be beneficial to have frequent reminders to advise people to use hand sanitizers and wash their hands.

This spacing is significant when the staff is seated in their cabins working and when they are moving around. 

So, as part of your phased return to work strategy, assess your office space and determine how many members can comfortably use the lift and stroll around while being safe.

Considering Employee Satisfaction 

Having more coworkers surrounding them is often unsettling for employees. When the workers return to their workplaces, the intended engagement will differ from person to person. 

As a result, you should supply each employee with some form of signal or code that will allow them to identify which coworkers feel comfortable interacting. 

You might consider offering colored wristbands to employees to indicate their comfort level with social engagement with coworkers.

Final Thoughts

Confidence in your personnel is critical in this situation. As a result, you must ensure that you provide them with the finest possible assistance to feel safe returning to their workplace. 

To dispel their uncertainties, you should inform them of your action plan and lead them through the complete process of a return-to-work plan and how a phased return to work plan benefits them. Finally, always consider your employees' input to improve the workplace.

For more work-related tips and topics, stay tuned on flexispot.com. Visit the FlexiWellness Center and read more interesting articles.