Returning to the workplace
What your small business needs to know
As the world slowly reopens, small businesses face new challenges. While there’s no single right approach for returning to the workplace, here are some insights that can help your small business stay safe, improve employee well-being, boost flexibility, and explore new approaches to hiring.
With the constantly changing environment due to COVID-19 variants, it can be confusing to settle on a plan for reopening physical sites safely. Vaccinations and masking are two of the biggest tools that small business employers need to consider.
Approach to vaccination
Leaning on local health guidelines regarding vaccination can help inform your next steps. While vaccination is mandatory in some locations and industries, in most cases it’s still up to you to decide what makes sense for your company. If you want to provide information to your employees about how to get vaccinated, you can direct them to their nearest vaccination locations.
DID YOU KNOW?
Because of lingering uncertainty around the legality and liability of mandatory employee vaccinations, 47% of all HR, legal, and executive professionals would like their states or municipalities to make the decision for them.
Establishing mask policies
For employees who can’t be vaccinated for health or personal reasons, masking may be the safest alternative. Medical experts agree that voluntary masking significantly reduces the spread of infection.
Back-to-workplace anxiety is a legitimate and common mental health concern that can be alleviated through empathy, patience, and support from leadership.
Coping with back-to-workplace anxiety
Many people are anxious about returning to in-person work, and employers are taking a more proactive role in the well-being of their employees. If you can’t provide counseling services or wellness tools, you can still hold informal check-ins with workers to foster a resilient, adaptable environment.
Returning to the workplace with empathy
Employers and employees alike will probably experience a feeling of unfamiliarity with the familiar as they adjust to locations and routines. This could be a weeks long, mentally taxing process. Compassion and empathy from management will go a long way toward helping employees acclimate according to their individual needs and avoid burnout.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for reopening your small business, but data suggests that flexible work models are here to stay.
Ongoing remote work
An overwhelming 87% of employees want to remain remote most of the time, with 56% favoring a hybrid mix of in-person and remote. Small businesses that neglect work flexibility face an uphill battle, and are under pressure to make in-person time more valuable and productive than it was before the pandemic.
Finding the right work model
To ease employees’ anxieties about new work models, be sure to make their feedback a central part of the rollout. This ongoing dialogue will help you land on what works best while also empowering your employees.
In the new world of work, new hiring tactics can help you broaden your candidate pool and create a stronger, more diverse workforce.
Valuing skills over degrees
Small business owners are currently struggling to fill roles. Favoring hard and soft skills over conventional college degrees can help you find the right candidates faster than your competition while saving money.
Improving productivity through diversity
Flexible work has given businesses the freedom to source underrepresented candidates who wouldn’t have otherwise considered their positions. This helps small businesses fill roles faster and create more diverse workplaces, which have been proven to boost output.
Reopening with compassion and an open mind.
The challenges of returning to the workplace can actually offer your small business new opportunities to thrive. Managing with flexibility and empathy while following health and safety guidelines will help you best position your company to move forward.