Return to the Office

As vaccination rates increase and infection rates decrease, several States are starting to rethink their COVID 19 stance.

One of the areas in which we are seeing changes made are in relation to employment. There are several rumours floating around in relation to dates in which office workers can return safely to the workplace. We’ve seen changes in density limits, QR codes and the wearing of masks. The return to the office is next on the cards.

How returning to the office looks from the HR perspective

We know that Employers are keen to get back to normal, or the closest to normal it could be.

Employees, however might have a different opinion and it might not be as easy and simple as saying “From this date we’re back in the office on…”

Let’s recall what has happened in the last two years from a HR perspective. In the last two years, there have been:

Aside from what we mentioned above, there is that added pressure of trying not to catch COVID-19. It’s a lot when you think about it. A lot.

How can Employers look at breaking down WFH routines?

Of course, the number one tip is communication, understanding the Employers motivation to get everyone back together will be at the forefront of any successful return. Trying to establish the reasons why they want this to occur will need to form part of the communication strategy to their Employees.  Whatever that reasoning is, it needs to be said that it must fall into the notion that the direction is both reasonable and lawful.

What legal stance do Employers have to enforce a return to the office?

With that said, if the direction to return to the office is both reasonable and lawful an Employee must have fairly strong reason as to why it would be inappropriate for them to return to the workplace. Obviously, there might be some outliners to this rule if a employment contract had granted them the provision to work from home, or there was extenuating circumstances. Nonetheless, there’s pushback, then it would be recommended that the Employer review on a case-by-case basis.  It would also be useful to understand why the pushback exists in the first place, as this might give opportunity for compromise.  Things to think about include how the Employee gets to work, potential interactions with unvaccinated people, immune-compromised or vulnerable people they might have in their lives as this all has the ability to impact on their resistance.

However in saying that, as the community confidence grows and more aspects of our lives return, it is with good intent that successful reorientation in the office will come from reassuring communication and careful consideration.

We encourage Employers to think about what their ideal work environment looks like and how they can execute this. There are several ways this can be achieved, so reach out to Now Actually and let us help and guide you through a strategy.

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