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5 Ways to Conquer COVID-19 Fears with Going Back to Work

Reopening Buisness

Re-entry anxiety is the umbrella term for employees’ negative responses to returning to work after experiencing the impacts of the pandemic. Concerns about virus transmission, loss of social skills and dramatic shifts in routine causes stress, which is not a mindset employers want affecting productivity. In a recent survey of 400 remote workers conducted by Morning Consult, 51% of adults would consider quitting if their employer tried to get them to return to the office before they felt safe.

Employers are responsible for the health, safety and satisfaction of their greatest assets: their employees. Like in any relationship, professional or personal—having a foundation built on trust is vital. With fears about COVID-19 still top of mind, combating absenteeism and retaining talent can be accomplished through proactive measures that support employees’ wellbeing. Whether you’re concerned about your company’s bottom line or seeking assurance that employees’ needs and concerns are being addressed, there are several methods worth suggesting to ensure a confident, safe return to work.

Open the lines of communication

Even if your company is actively creating new health and safety protocols, if those changes aren’t being communicated to the staff, that lack of transparency creates further separation and fuels anxiety. Employees want to feel confident that employers are taking the right precautions and including them in the conversation. How will the decision-makers know how to provide a work environment that employees feel comfortable in without receiving direct feedback? To prioritize communication, suggesting simple touch points like surveys provides peace of mind to employees and gives leadership visibility into:

  • Challenges preventing employees from returning to work
  • Changes in individual employees’ health
  • Needs and support required to maintain productivity
Additionally, employees are interested in understanding how the pandemic has impacted the business. Employers are encouraged to share things like sales earnings, goals, and changes to staffing alleviates concerns about job security and the stability of the company.

Organize a COVID-19 Response Team

When it comes to an outbreak at work, health and safety policies are not bullet-proof. Active measures to prevent virus transmission are necessary, but having a strategic response to an outbreak promotes faster awareness and gives the company a sense of control in dealing with such an unpredictable virus. Appointing company leaders and department representatives as members of the response team is ideal, but employees can also establish an effective cross-department team. Members can be assigned specific tasks to:

  • Initiate the chain of command when an employee is experiencing symptoms or has tested positive for the virus
  • Execute contact tracing
  • Inform relevant managers and colleagues
  • Stay up to date on changing recommendations or policies

Check for available EAP resources

Part of managing re-entry anxiety is catering to mental health, which has become a much larger concern for employers. The pandemic has triggered a surge in depression and anxiety; between the economic fallout and the enforced shelter-in-place, people were left feeling isolated, alone and insecure. Some companies have an Employee Assistance Program built-in to help address problems that are impacting performance at work. If offered, employees could receive counseling or assistance to address health, social, financial and other types of personal issues. In preparation for the return to work, look into the kinds of resources your company can provide to support wellbeing.

Promote workplace engagement

Despite working with other people every day, employees are craving personal connection and are worried about having lost crucial communication skills due to COVID-19. Experts recommend people dealing with this form of re-entry anxiety set small goals and slowly acclimate to experiences they might otherwise be unprepared for. To help ease into in-person interaction, encouraging video conferencing for meetings and planning more frequent virtual team gatherings will help remove some of the emotional barriers people are feeling and help colleagues get reacquainted or get to know each other better.

Get Advanced Virus Protection

Beyond more stringent sanitation and hygiene protocols, advanced protection from hydroxyl generators diffuse natural sanitizing agents that destroy viruses and bacteria both in the air and on surfaces. Unlike conventional air purifiers, PYURE Technology has a proven ability to kill the live SARS-CoV-2 virus. PYURE replicates the way sunlight sanitizes the outdoors with hydroxyl technology that naturally cleans the air and purifies surfaces, making it perfectly safe to continuously run around people, plants and animals. As employers are evaluating their current ventilation and HVAC systems, start the conversation around better indoor air quality and virus protection. With reliable protection like PYURE, concerns about re-entry anxiety, absenteeism and efficiency will be addressed.

As we navigate the challenges of going back to work, consider all the options to best support the health and wellbeing of the workforce. Learn more about PYURE and find out how to purchase purifiers from a local distributor.

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