During and after every crisis there is uncertainty and anxiety. Even among your employees or colleagues. Working from home has an impact: limited social contact, little oxytocin (cuddle hormone) to combat stress and creating new habits. That's why reboarding is crucial.
It takes about 21 days to learn new habits but it takes at least as long to get rid of them. So you can’t expect your employees to ‘just’ pick up their traditional working life again. That’s why reboarding your employees and an action plan is important! (Source:Voka)
In recent months, everyone has been forced to change their work and private routines. This could have led to a lot of stress or worries. On the other hand, some people have been confronted with, for example, loneliness or illness. This is where reboarding comes in. It is your job to reassure employees, inform them well and stimulate team spirit.
The same goes for a colleague who returns after a depression, burn-out, personal loss, long-term unemployment or illness. It is your job to provide personal follow-up for these employees, whether or not in cooperation with HR, Mensura or another welfare service. Schedule daily, weekly and monthly 1-on-1 follow-up interviews to follow up the person and address issues in a timely manner. Proper reboarding of your employees pays off in the long run and reduces the risk of a relapse.
Initially, some flexibility towards working from home / in the office is necessary. Many employees have enjoyed the benefits of working from home. Don’t just refer teleworking to the proverbial bin upon return, but be open to continue to allow homeworking for those who feel good about it. Discuss this topic with your colleagues and create guidelines. If your employees are teleworking full-time, it can seem difficult to manage a remote team. But that doesn’t have to be the case, read our useful tips on leading a remote team.
Organisational focal points
Are there things to take into account when restarting your activities or reintroducing employees to the workplace? What questions will your employees have? Prepare yourself by collecting information and creating a (digital) information package:
- Holidays & holiday allowance
- Consequences of refusing to work
- Child care, (corona) parental leave, educational leave, sick leave, job application leave,…
- Extra-legal benefits e.g. compensation for teleworking
- Temporary employment, part-time work or unemployment
- Early retirement
- Hospitalization insurance
- Contact details of HR, an internal confidential counsellor and the internal prevention service, but also of partners such as Mensura, the social secretariat, your insurance company, a trade union,…
Make sure the information available for everyone on an intranet or other communication tool. In addition, it is important to support the employee with a reboarding plan, to help him/her with the paper mill and to provide the necessary documents.
Ensure a safe and stimulating environment
When reboarding after a pandemic, returning to the office can be difficult to facilitate, so which office prevention measures are best to take?
- use safety screens
- create sufficient distance between seats in work and dining areas;
- inform your employees about hygiene & safety measures at work: use awareness posters, use stickers or make a short video;
- hand out mouth masks;
- make sure anti-bacterial hand gels and disinfection spray is available;
- keep frequently used doors open and optimize the flow throughout the office;
- limit the use of meeting rooms;
- encourage homeworking: provide your employees with quality hardware & good communication tools to telework without worries.
When reboarding an employee after e.g. sick leave or long-term unemployment, it can be nice to provide the employee with extra training to catch up. So that they can get back to work confidently and with the necessary knowledge.
Appointing a buddy to someone who recently started after a long absence can help minimize stress or anxiety. The buddy re-introduces & guides this person, but can also act as his/her internal confidant.