Boy have things changed in just a few months and it appears such concern will not be going away any time soon. This is not a temporary issue to contend with but rather a time we need to change the way we do things in the workplace from physical set up to employee relations and training. Why, because we have ALL changed. How could we not? Some for the better, we hope and others are significantly in a darker place. When they come to us in the workplace, we need to keep our eyes on what has changed and how it is changing employee dynamics.
Politics will continue to rev up and divide people. Keep such talk out of the workplace as much as possible. Distancing naturally isolates people. So the social aspect of work is diminishing significantly. That alone adversely impacts work dynamics. We have new laws and regulations governing our every move. We have more administrative, compliance tasks that are quite frankly. adding to already busy schedules that imposes stress.
There are potential legal challenges lurking all over the place. From employees who don't see their workplace as "safe" to those we serve in our businesses challenging how we are conducting our business. We have the "mask police" who are causing issues with others when in fact they may not understand why another person may or may not be wearing one. There are medical issues that allow for exceptions. There are misunderstandings about when and how someone needs to wear a mask. So rather than minding our own business on this, there is workplace conflict arising. I say leave it to the people in charge of compliance and have them address any issues that seem out of line. Avoid workplace conflict in this regard. Contact the people who are charged to keep the workplace "safe".
Some businesses have had to reduce staffing levels and add more work to others. While some are grateful to remain employed others are complaining about too much work and want more pay. But we have to be mindful of why the reduction happened, it was costs and so paying more is unlikely to be an option. I say error on the grateful side of having a job! Something is better than nothing. Pressing employers to spend more money can certainly cause further reductions in workforce. Carefully express your concerns knowing you can be putting your employer in a difficult position. Most employers would love to be so financially secure they can pay their people more, truly, they would.
Training should be a focus. Are you focusing on training that can balance one's perspective on our differences? We are all more the same than different, but I would suggest a training focused on respect in the workplace. Such training goes along way in making people more focused on how their behaviors impact others. We do need to care about how we approach others can make or break a culture of peace and respect. As leaders, you have the most responsibility to show, through your actions, just how this is done. This doesn't mean you don't make hard decisions and discipline and do what you should do to make sure you have a fair and equitable workplace, it just means you encourage and support a positive workplace and this is one that shows they value all people as people.
Employee engagement is always important and I am one to ensure my clients build this model into all that they do. We need to hear from the people that know best how their workworld is to them. We then can make adjustments as appropriate and keep building strong relationships among and across our departments. Building strong "teams" has to be organic, not just a few days at a seminar. While those are ok, they are unlikely to have impact on sustainable change over time. My approach is proven to do so. Click here to to find out how this works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVK-PeA3ElA&t=14s
In any case, gear up. HR support is more and more important than ever in the history of my 30 years in the field. This Pandemic increased the need for my support and I know you need it too. Whether you have inhouse HR or none at all, having an external resource is best practices to support and balance your needs.
Educating the workworld is my goal. Helping businesses through it all is my passion.