If you’re planning to reopen your workplace, consider getting information from your workers on crucial topics — such as their personal needs and understanding of safety protocols.
Here's what you need to know:
- You can use an employee survey to gauge the ability of your workforce to return to work in the first place
- Consider asking employees Likert scale questions along the lines of “I feel safe traveling to and from work” and “I fear that I will contract the virus from customers”
- Use the survey to discover what you can do to make the transition a smooth one, such as offering work-from-home days or company carpools
- Survey responses can help you create a timeline that works for everyone — such as allowing staff to come in a couple of days a week rather than full-time at the beginning
- A return-to-work survey offers the ability to gauge how well your employees understand not only the safety protocols you’re planning to institute, but the importance of complying with them
Figuring out when, how, and why to ask your employees to return to work is a complicated topic.
From safety procedures to whether or not your employees are even able to return as they once were in the first place (think anyone who now has long-term care duties as a result of a family member’s bout with COVID-19), there’s a lot to consider.
As you begin to plan and plot what this important transition will look like and how it will work, one of the best things you can do in creating that plan is conduct your own return-to-work employee survey.
Not entirely sold on the idea, especially when time and resources are stretched thin the way it is? Here are a few compelling reasons to consider.
Find out your staff’s ability to return to work
You can use an employee survey to gauge the ability of your workforce to return to work in the first place.
Not everyone has the same demands in their personal lives that they did before the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis began.
If your business has been completely closed, some employees may very well have gotten a second job that they’re now obligated to do in some way (and who can blame them — bills have to get paid). Or, someone in their life could still be dealing with complications from a bout with COVID-19. Thus, caregiving may be a role they now have to factor into their lives.
Regardless of what the reason is, you can use an employee survey to gauge the ability of your workforce to return to work in the first place. Once you have that information, you can figure out if you need to:
- Promote employees to fill new voids
- Hire new people
- Bring on temporary workers to fill the gap
Understand how your employees feel about returning to work
There’s a lot that goes into returning to in-office work in the COVID-19 era. Returning can include a lot of serious and very valid health concerns. You can consider asking employees Likert scale questions along the lines of:
- “I feel safe traveling to and from work”
- “I fear that I will contract the virus from customers”
- “I understand the importance of screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms”
- “I understand the safety protocols being implemented at work”
Their answers can help to uncover exactly how your employees feel about returning to work.
Your return-to-work survey will likely show areas where your employees have reservations. You’ll be able to take that information and decide what, if anything, you can do to address their concerns.
Ask what your staff needs to switch back to in-office work
For many small businesses, it’s not simply going to be going back to work as usual after spending months working from home. Some employees will likely have fallen in love with their new arrangement; others might be itching to get back to the office.
Maybe some people would like to be able to work from home one day a week moving forward. Maybe others who previously relied on public transportation to get to work are more interested in a company carpool option. There are plenty of factors in play here. Therefore, it’s smart to use the survey to discover what you can do to make the transition a smooth one.
Maybe some people would like to be able to work from home one day a week moving forward. Maybe others who previously relied on public transportation to get to work are more interested in a company carpool option.
Use information to create a timeline that works for everyone
Either way, going back to business as usual will be a transition unlike any that most people have experienced before, so you’ll want to dedicate part of your return-to-work survey to uncovering what can be done to ease the change for your employees.
Maybe the answer will be a slow transition rather than an instant return to work. You could allow staff to come in a couple of days a week rather than full-time at the beginning. Maybe you want to open your business back up again, but are considering doing it under reduced hours and want to know if your employees would be able to accommodate that.
Whatever the answer is for your small business, the first step to figuring out your company’s timeline is a return-to-work survey.
Measure your employees’ understanding of safety protocols
Naturally, there will be public health and safety protocols in practically every business that reopens anytime soon. But those safety protocols are only as effective as the people who use them are. One excellent opportunity that a return-to-work survey offers is the ability to gauge how well your employees understand not only the safety protocols you’re planning to institute, but the importance of complying with them as well.
Ensuring that your employees are ready and willing to adhere to the protocols required to keep them, their officemates, your customers, and the community at large safe is something that all business owners are reckoning with now. A return-to-work survey is a solid first step in satisfying that newfound responsibility.