Helping People Who Are Reluctant About Workplace Reopenings

How can companies, HR professionals & recruiters work with employees to accommodate workplace reopenings?
Helping People Who Are Reluctant About Workplace Reopenings
Patrick Bailey

While all jobs and job searches differ, many successful job searches still require recruiters, human resources (HR) professionals and employers to:

  • Find applicants.
  • Communicate with applicants.
  • Educate applicants about workplaces.
  • Assist applicants during interview processes.
  • Help applicants with onboarding procedures.
  • Motivate applicants as they begin their new positions.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life in other ways, it has also changed recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding. Many of these processes have occurred virtually.

Similarly, some workplaces are conducting all their work virtually. Some offer a mix of virtual and in-person work. Other workplaces have reopened or are in the process of reopening for in-person, face-to-face work.

Yet some new hires and existing employees might want to work at home to avoid contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus or for other reasons. How can workplaces, HR professionals, and recruiters work with these employees to accommodate everyone’s needs?

Using Communication

Communication and information are good ways to combat fears about the coronavirus and the accompanying pandemic.

A single brief email message won’t do, either. Frequent communication can help reassure current and prospective employees that workplaces are taking safety measures.

Recruiters, HR professionals, and workplaces should consider delivering different messages in different formats. People might not receive or understand certain messages.

Of course, recruiters and workplaces need to back these claims. They can provide photos of their testing materials, precautionary supplies, and other safety services, or they can document their safety measures in other ways.

Being accountable for such documentation spurs workplaces to take necessary safety precautions and prove to employees that they’re taking such measures.

Being Flexible

Employees may be reluctant to return to in-person work because of the coronavirus or other concerns, like personal problems or their kids’ homeschooling.

HR professionals, recruiters, and workplaces can take a flexible approach with reluctant employees. Instead of working forty hours and five days a week at the office, employees might make arrangements that allow them to work:

  • Three days at the office and two days at home.
  • Twenty hours at the office and twenty hours at home.
  • One week at home, one at the office, and repeat this pattern.
  • Four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days.

Alternatively, employees and their supervisors may develop other arrangements that allow them to work at home and the office. Recruiters can help applicants find workplaces that provide flexitime. It’s important to provide the right communication structure for remote or flexi employees, to ensure they are as much a part of the team as their office co-workers.

Recruiters can also help job applicants find places that encourage employees to work at home when they’re feeling sick. This policy helps employees rest and recover more quickly, prevent other co-workers from becoming sick, and foster good feelings between employers and employees.

Being Understanding

Despite recruiters’ and HR professionals’ best efforts, some employees might not want to return to in-office work soon — or ever.

It’s hard to find and keep valuable employees in ordinary times. Recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding new employees may be particularly difficult during a global health crisis.

Recruiters and employers should reconcile the fact that some employees might permanently work from home.

HR professionals and recruiters could provide more information to job hunters about specific positions and workplaces. This information could give potential workers a better understanding of the workplaces’ cultures. It could give interviewees better chances of succeeding in interviews and eventually landing jobs.

Creating Accountability

Successful employers allow for change and try to understand their employees as people, not as resources. In exchange for this understanding, employers might ask for accountability in return.

Workplaces could require employees to create work-at-home plans, asking them to create rough schedules of what they’ll be doing each week, for example. Employers could encourage employees to check in with their co-workers or supervisors at certain times to make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing and what’s expected of them.

Much has changed since the beginning of 2020. For some, work might be part of these changes.

But these changes don’t have to be bad. Instead, recruiters, HR professionals, and employers can work with prospective and current employees to create workplaces that are safe, happy, and yes, productive!

About the authors

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Pamela Zuber is a writer and editor who has written about science, health, business, gender issues, human rights, and other topics.

Sources — 5 Tips for Communicating with Employees During a Crisis — Inpatient Alcohol Rehab | Alcohol Rehab Facilities — 4 Sick-Leave Practices to Avoid During the Coronavirus Pandemic — A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers

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