As you are alerted to changes in your organization’s workforce strategy in different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, and before you communicate specific directives to your team, think carefully about where you have flexibility in implementing that strategy, especially when it comes to where and when the work gets done.
You’ve probably already done this in deciding who you have asked to come into the workplace, who you have authorized to work from home, and how you have made staffing changes to manage increases or decreases in the workload. In the months ahead, you’ll need to keep making those kinds of decisions.
As you weigh these decisions, consider what you have learned from earlier phases of your unit’s and your team’s responses to the pandemic:
- What work can be handled efficiently and productively by employees working from home?
- What work can get done if only some of the people are present in the workplace?
- How have physical distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and disinfection measures at work reassured employees and protected them from infection?
Based on what you’ve learned so far, think about how you might build on what’s working now as you begin the next phase of your unit’s plans:
- How might your team do their work differently if only some of the people are present in the workplace?
- How will you handle ongoing communication and meetings if only some of the people are present in the workplace?
- How will you plan work schedules so that employees can maintain physical distance in the workplace?
- How will you factor job roles, health vulnerabilities, parenting responsibilities and other personal issues and priorities in deciding who will come into the workplace and who will work from home?
- Who will you ask or require to come into the workplace in the next phase of pandemic response? And, for what days and hours?
- How will you convince employees that your staffing plans are fair and reasonable? Will you solicit ideas and suggestions from employees to strengthen their buy-in to your plans? Or, will you make those decisions yourself and commit to reviewing them periodically and making adjustments based on the team’s input?