IN FOCUS | #NewNormal in the workplace: Focus on PEOPLE
Some industries are permitted to resume operations during the GCQ. Yet, a lot of questions loom in the mind. How can you bounce back? Do you need to pivot operations? When is the best time to collect receivables? How can you settle payments?
Yes, there are so many things that we ought to be concerned about. However, let us remember one thing. We need to start with our employees. As we return to our workplace, let us remember the acronym P.E.O.P.L.E.
Everyone is going through fear, stress and anxiety. It helps to leave home and finally be able to go back to the workplace, see familiar faces and earn a living. Sadly, this is not something easy to jumpstart. In order to “break the ice,” begin with setting a workplace culture that is positive and hopeful. One way would be to initiate an informal kamustahan session to catch up or check up on one another, prior to discussing business-related matters.
Emotional and Mental Health
Many are going through emotional distress and mental health issues, especially those who personally experienced death of loved ones because of COVID19, have been PUI’s, PUM’s or simply just stayed at home, uncertain of when this battle would end. Remember that people respond differently to issues of emotional and mental health. Some prefer to be quiet, whereas others are very open about this. It is important to take extra precaution on these matters, since mental issues have long-term effects on the person and are likely to affect productivity as well. If there is a need to see a mental expert, this is a non-negotiable. There are also other ways to battle this “other” invisible enemy, in the form of wellness activities, such as yoga and exercise.
Regardless of the size of the company, “open-door communication” is necessary, especially during the recalibration or adjustment period. It takes effort, but remember that this will go a long way in motivating and retaining employees. It begins with a firm decision, followed by a company-wide announcement that there is such a policy on “open-door communication.” The manner of execution will definitely vary, depending on the nature of the company. What is important is that this comes from the leaders or from top management – for small businesses, the owner-manager; whereas for medium to large-scale companies, top management, as executed or relayed by the human resources department.
Policy Review and Revision
The #NewNormal is disrupting the way workplace policies once worked. New arrangements such as flexible work, work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, remote work, skeletal workforce and new forms of scheduling have emerged. These must be discussed and attended to with urgency by management. Once policies have been revisited, revised and have adhered to the necessary legal implications, these policies must be properly explained across the company.
Listen to and Follow Precautionary Measures
Since the battle versus COVID19 is not over, it remains a duty to follow precautionary measures set forth by the government and respective agencies, prior to entering the workplace and after work hours. Wearing of masks, social distancing, workplace misting or sanitation and temperature checks are just some precautionary measures.
During the ECQ, many have realized the importance of collaboration and being grateful for still being alive, most especially since a lot have perished because of the pandemic. As we go back to the workplace, let us also extend the value of empathy, because again, the battle is not over. Upon leaving the office, the risks of infection remain out there.
To guide you further as you return to the workplace, we are sharing this video on a recent HR Forum with experts from workplace management, organizational development, labor law and corporate wellness.
Together, let us bravely FACE THE #NEWNORMAL.
“Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. It’s as simple as that”
– Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist
FROM DORELENE V. DIMAUNAHAN, MScM, CFE, CMA, CHRP
PHOTO COURTESY: WORKTECH ACADEMY