Getting back on-site

Planning for return to work with covid still a factor.

We have at long last reached a point that has allowed us to plan for welcoming our teams back into the workplace.

While a lot of organisations are looking forward to returning to the workplace, globally there has been huge shift! Organisations are now planning to continue the remote working structure, either fully or in a hybrid capacity. Whatever the plan for a business, there are some key elements that Management Teams need to keep at the forefront of their minds when deciding on their return to work strategy.

While we are seeing less cases and more positive outcomes for those who have contracted Covid-19, we all need to remain aware and continue to make efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. Most importantly, we need to avoid complacency and continue to apply strict measures in combatting the spread of the virus.

What have we learned? Time to Reflect

Since the beginning of 2020, no business or industry has not had to face some form of change, but we learn from change and with learning, we improve!

If you sit back and look at what has changed for your business or organisation over the past year, it will clearly stand out to you what you can learn from and improve on. Some examples are;

  • Work-Life Balance & Productivity
  • Working Time & Engagement
  • Job Satisfaction & Motivation
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Management Approach & Working Relationships

Have these areas of focus changed in the past year? If so, have they changed for the better? How are you going to maintain the effects of these positive changes going forward?

What to Consider?

All of the questions we have faced, continue to remain relevant, possibly more now than ever, as we step forward into navigating another route back to normality.

  • How do we continue to function?
  • What are our options for safeguarding Health, Safety and Wellbeing?
  • How are we going to manage, support and enable our teams?
  • What are the costs that are going to be involved?
  • Does our Insurance cover these changes?
  • What is our Remote Working Policy and how do we manage it?

In planning our route as an Organisation, we need to maintain focus on some key areas.

Your Team

As humans, we don’t like change, habitually, we resist change and transition periods are not quick or easy, even with a phased approach. Our emotions as people have been put to the ultimate test over the past year. A change to our normal working lives and routines has been a huge contributing factor to this, whatever the case may have been for individual employees.

Without your team, your business would not succeed. They are key players in ensuring that processes are followed, production is maintained and service is delivered. Just as it was difficult suddenly having to adjust to remote working or lay-off, with limited social interactions, it is going to be difficult to re-adjust our working lives all over again.

Team members need to be at the center of the focus of all Return to Work and Remote Working strategies. We are all facing the anxiety of the unknown, but your team needs to know that they will be supported.

Remain conscious and considerate of your team members, their working lives, and their personal lives. The past 12-18 months have not been easy, there has been suffering and loss and a “one-size fits all” approach is not the answer.

Compliance & Best Practice

Compliance cannot be forgotten or avoided when approaching our Return to Work or Remote Working Strategies. We will continue to be directed by guidelines and legislation. There will be rules in place to protect and safeguard everyone’s wellbeing, such as the Return to Work Safely Protocol, a key document created by the Government.

Best Practice looks at taking the most recommended approach to a situation while maintaining and complementing compliance. A prime example of this is Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Health & Safety is a compliance matter under the Health, Safety & Welfare at Work Act 2005, which obligates employers to implement systems at work to protect employees from hazards or potential risks that may lead to physical or mental ill-health, such as Covid-19. However, this legislation provides limited guidance on mental wellbeing.

This is where Best Practice comes into play, and we see the introduction of additional systems at work such as Employee Assistance Programs or Well-being initiatives. Legally you don’t have to, but best practice recommends this and the benefits have been proven, so this is something to consider in your return to work strategy.

Your Strategy – A Recap

The 3 areas that we have identified as being top of the list when creating your Return to Work or Remote Working Strategy are:

1. Your Team,

2. Compliance and

3. Best Practice.

Review what works best for your company, the culture, and approach that your team is used to and comfortable with. Communicate as much as possible, try to consider all eventualities without being exhaustive or too extensive. And most importantly, don’t ignore the guidelines and recommendations.

Keep an eye on our blogs for some more tips on tackling your strategy, coming soon!

This blog was brought to you by Aoife Hanlon, HR Executive with Corporate HR Ireland. Aoife can be reached by Email:

Sign up to our newsletter if you’d like to hear more from us.

Leave a Reply