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How To Manage and Motivate You Team to Do Their Best Work After Lockdown

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Upon returning to work after lockdown, managers and leaders in commercial organisations will have a variety of concerns.

It is key to remember that every organisation right now is going through a period of change and that it will be a while before the dust settles and we find a ‘new normal’. In some sectors, employees were able to work throughout lockdown, but for many commercial organisations, their business was either drastically reduced or stopped altogether.

This is why it is essential to have in place a robust strategy to help your team move forwards now workplaces are opening up again.

In today’s article, I share advice for employers on how to manage and motivate their teams coming back to work after lockdown, starting with common team concerns.

 

Managing Your Team’s Concerns

A potential problem that managers will have to face is the integration of teams who have been disjointed by lockdown, and the individual issues they might have.

If members of your team have been working from home, some of them might have enjoyed it and wish to carry on; others will be eager to get back. There may be members of your team who are fearful of going back into work, especially if they live with someone who is currently shielding.

As an employer, it is essential to remain flexible to accommodate your employee’s needs. Options to consider for team members who have concerns include -

  • Keeping someone on furlough for longer (the government furlough scheme is guaranteed until October) – discuss with all employees about their preferences, concerned team members may be happy to stay on furlough.
  • Let employees continue to work from home if they are happy to do so, and if they have everything they need to continue to do their work to a high standard.
  • You may consider letting employees work different hours to avoid peak travel times or arrange extra car parking, if possible, to allow employees to drive to work.

Another worry for employees is childcare. With schools still shut, non-essential workers who are now being encouraged to return to work will have concerns over their situation. The prime minister has said that lack of childcare is an ‘obvious barrier to get back to work’ and that employers can only expect employees to come back to work if they have provisions for childcare until the schools are reopened.

The key thing to remember is to listen to your employees and then take steps to protect everyone. Communication with all of your team is essential in understanding their concerns; a happy workforce is a productive workforce.

 

Social Distancing: Physical Changes to Your Office

Another change that managers will have to contend with is the physical changes that you will need to make to the workplace.

The first step you will need to take, as per government guidelines, is to conduct a risk assessment. You will need to consider the following -

  • How can you ensure a two-metre gap is maintained between employees at all times?
  • Do you need to implement screens in any customer-facing areas?
  • Do you need to rearrange desks and seating areas?
  • Do you need to implement hand washing or sanitising stations, and if so, where can these go?
  • Have you purchased enough hand sanitiser and disposable hand towels/tissues to keep employees safe?
  • Do you have a plan of action to deal with an employee who starts showing symptoms?

The government have announced that workplaces will be subject to inspection from environmental officers, so you must meet the criteria. But also, demonstrating to your employees that you are taking every possible step to protect their health will instil confidence in your team and allow them to work stress-free.

 

Skills Refreshers and Training

Even if your employees have been remote working for the last two months, they will have been doing so in a changed, or reduced capacity. Even with the highest-spec technology, working from home is not the same as working in an office environment, and your team will likely be out of practice in some areas. 

Things that might have suffered while your team were remote working can include – a lack of collaboration, a breakdown in communication and possibly attention to detail. It can be easier for things to get missed when people are trying to collaborate over email and video.

With this in mind, your team will benefit from skills refreshers and additional training upon returning.

Ask your team which areas they feel as though they need a refresher on, or any skills they thought they lacked when working from home that they would like training based around? During the lockdown, many people started thinking about their skills and their careers, with a high level of uptake in online courses. If your team feel as though their employer is not supporting them, they might start to look elsewhere for alternative career options.

 

How to Motivate a Returning Team

Finally, how can you best motivate your team upon their return to the workplace?

The following are my top tips-

  • Make your workplace a pleasant place to be. Confront problems and negativity straight away and do not let it fester. Be positive and upbeat – your team are looking to you to set the tone for their new way of working.
  • Be supportive. The lockdown and now returning to work will be probably the most unsettling period in your team’s working lives. Continually check that your team have everything they need in the newly-changed workplace.
  • Be flexible. Let your team know that you will work together with them to create a new normal that they are comfortable with.
  • Share positive feedback. It is more vital than ever that you focus on the positives in your team and their successes.

Many managers have found it more challenging keeping their team motivated and engaged during the lockdown. Use this guide to help steer your team through the next, more positive, recovery period.

 

What Next?

Coming out of lockdown is something that all organisations will experience differently, with different levels of challenges for each.

If the needs of your organisation have changed recently and you would like a discussion about finding the right talent to help your business thrive, we can help.

Get in touch with our team on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to discuss your recruitment needs.

 

Thanks,

Lynn

 

ABOUT CLAYTON RECRUITMENT 

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.  

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here. 

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