Safely back to work in the new normal

Our mission is to ensure businesses are fully prepared to get people back to work safely when the time is right. As the peak of the global pandemic has passed, it’s time for us to start enabling access to livelihoods for employees once again. How and where work happens will certainly be different in future. In what way? As yet, we don’t know, but as employers, we know we have a responsibility to help people get back to work safely.

To support this, we’ve established an HR services industry alliance with our partners Randstad NV and ManpowerGroup. The purpose of the alliance is to apply our collective experience to support employers who are treading new ground as they plan a return to work for their employees. As we move forward together, we’ll be able to share best practice at it evolves.

What does going back to work safely mean?

At an individual level, going back to work safely means ensuring that employees do not feel they have to sacrifice their health or safety for their financial security. What that looks like from an organisational point of view is now taking form. Although we’re still far from the ‘new normal’, a re-think of the workplace is already underway.

Are we carving a path towards more flexibility and remote working? For some perhaps but returning to work safely is not as simple as adopting virtual working. For many companies and employees this isn’t an option and we can’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach. What we’re doing through the HR services industry alliance is offering guidance, ideas and best practice that will enable organisations to tailor their own guidance for company and individual needs.

Is this about health and safety? Partially, but in the temporary ‘physical distancing economy’ we need to bring together both physical health and safety practicalities with behavioural change. Physical changes may include physical separation, entrance checks or the provision of PPE. Behavioural influences could include nudging, personal conduct, procedures and process to help us all work more safely. Our alliance aims to bring together both.

Start your checklist

The HR services industry is significant in the current situation given the nature of the risks. As you plan a return to work in your own organisation, here are a few words of advice from our team:

  1. Prioritise and set up the right solutions based on your organisation’s needs. Consider areas covering access and quarantine, remote working, work and shift planning, hygiene, health, compliance and communication. Which of these areas will need new or updated protocols and which are most urgent?
  2. Create the right environment for organisational adoption. Influencing behavioural change is best achieved through consultation with employees to ensure that all workers feel confident in their safety, and that any concerns they might have are being listened to and acted upon.
  3. Tap into best practice. Access the new UK Government guidance on how to make workplaces ‘COVID-19 Secure’. You can access the Government resources here.
  4. Read the HR services industry alliance report. The Adecco Group UK and Ireland, along with our partners, have created a report that complements the Government guidance. The report includes a checklist of 83 measures to support the development of your organisation’s COVID-19 protocols.
  5. Collaborate and share best practice. This time period is a first for us all and calls for unparalleled collaboration and coordination. We urge stakeholders to join forces to enable employees to return to work in a way that is both safe and productive. To find out more about our alliance, read the open letter from our CEO and our partners on our website.

You can download your copy of the Safely Back to Work report here. If you’d like to have a conversation with us about an audit and adoption plan for protocols for your business, please get in touch. We’d be happy to offer guidance.