Multifamily workplaces around the country are wrestling with the challenges of reopening their offices. According to research by SHRM, 50% of employers plan to return to the workplace by July 15, and 39% will implement a phased return to work strategy.
As multifamily housing operators make their return to work plans, leaders should adopt a people-first mentality and demonstrate compassion for the concerns of their associates. Here are just some of the issues that team members may be worried about:
Some may be recovering from COVID or have underlying conditions that put them at higher risk
Some may live with someone considered high-risk for infection
Many act as caregivers and may be wrestling with extended closures of schools, camps, daycares, and adult care facilities
Some may rely on public transportation to commute to and from work and fear that option is unsafe or may have limited operating hours
According to Fortune, more than 1/3 of office-going adults are most concerned that “others in the office will behave in a way that puts me in danger”
Many may be experiencing anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress syndrome. According to Harvard Business Review, “Many have suffered profound losses during the pandemic and have not had sufficient opportunity to grieve.”
Resolving the numerous practical challenges of reopening—such as securing adequate supplies of PPE, disinfecting workspaces and amenity areas, and reconfiguring office layouts to accommodate social distancing—while challenging indeed, may be the easiest part about returning to work. Addressing the fears and concerns of team members may be even more difficult—and just as critical.
Here are some topics you may consider addressing in your one-on-one meetings as you craft your reopening plans:
How do you feel about returning to the office (or apartment community)?
Are there any obstacles that would need to be overcome in order for you to return?
What can I do to help with this transition?
What concerns do you have?
Is there anything the company could do to better support you and your coworkers during this time?
Keep in mind that while we are all going through the same pandemic, every individual’s circumstances are different. Some of your team members may be eager to get back to ‘business as usual’ while others may have serious concerns or roadblocks to clear. Approach this transition with compassion and concern for the unique needs of each team member.