Returning to work post-COVID-19 is something many Australian employers are celebrating, but before returning to ‘business as usual’, what will our new normal look like?

Recently Workplace Central put together a campaign that offered support for business owners and provided them with useful tools when managing employee relations during a pandemic, you can find the free resources here.

After following up with the hundreds of you that downloaded our free resource, it’s now become apparent that your concerns have shifted from how to stand down staff, to how do we encourage staff back to the workplace.

Since the Federal Government increased JobSeeker payments, introduced the JobKeeper Payment Scheme, made Child Care free and has provided additional financial support to business owners, it’s no surprise that employers are now anticipating their workforce to re-think their working arrangements.

Getting the most out of your team can sometimes be a challenge at the best of times, so what extra measures should employers be putting in place for the remainder of the year? Below is three ways we believe employers can help alleviate some of the hesitations staff may have.

Keeping the Workplace Safe

It goes without saying that a safe workplace is a happy workplace, but post-COVID-19, employers will be expected to manage and mitigate their risk against the spread of infection. This will include but is not limited to;

  • managing social distancing requirements – do you need to consider staggering start and finish times for team members? How will this impact your rostering?
  • ensuring that bathrooms, kitchens and communal areas are fully stocked with hand soap and hand sanitiser;
  • developing or adding to your personal carers leave policy so as to make clear that if anyone is feeling sick, they are to remain at home;
  • adding control measures to your workplace risk assessments; and
  • inducting staff on how to best manage infection control.

Increased Flexible Working Arrangements

One thing we’re likely to see in the coming months is more commercial property becoming available. A recent Gartner HR survey revealed that 88 per cent of organisations have encouraged or required employees to work from home due to COVID-19.

Some employers may find that if employees are still able to carry out their duties from home, this request will become more substantiated due to recent times. On the flip side, business owners can potentially save themselves thousands of dollars each year because they no longer need to lease an office. Instead, it’s likely that shared workspaces will increase in popularity and accessing central hub environments on a weekly or fortnightly basis for meetings and check in’s. This can significantly reduce overheads.

But what if you want to have your staff attend a place of work that is not their home? Some organisations obviously require employees to be on-site to fulfil their role, but others can be argued either way.

Managing performance will become increasingly important, especially if as an employer, you have concerns regarding productivity. Regular catch up’s and more structured reviews will need to be implemented. You’ll also definitely need a working from home policy so everyone is aware of the expectation and consequences of abusing the policy.

Review of Roles and Responsibilities

For many Awards, temporary provisions were included that enabled employers to direct employees to complete tasks outside the scope of their regular duties. You may have discovered during this time that some employees possess skills you never knew about that can value add to your organisation.

It’s estimated that Australian’s will change jobs 12 times over the course of their career. Hiring and training new staff is an expensive exercise, even more so if your placed candidate decides to leave after a short time. It might then be worthwhile exploring options that help develop team members in new areas which can lead to more job fulfilment.

Any changes to a person’s employment should always be done in consultation with those team members affected and correct procedures followed.

If you need more advice on any of the mentioned above or Restructuring and/or Cultural Change Management, make sure to give us a call on 1300 766 380 or send us an email at [email protected]


*This is general information only and doesn’t take your specific circumstances into account.