Many organizations are reopening or opening to full operations as we all move forward through this total disruption of life as we knew it. Many questions and concerns remain. Employees as well as business leaders are not sure what the new normal will be, what the new work normal will be, and much fear and anxiety will continue for quite a while. Acknowledging collective experiences is more important than ever.
Pause and reflect on not only what is needed to reopen, but also what future –what vision – you wish to create. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reopening, there are several factors and hierarchy of controls to consider in order to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all staff, visitors and customers. Consider the many dimensions of well-being, such as,
- Take care of the people side of business.
- Accept, discuss, and acknowledge our collective experiences, concerns, fears, and anxieties.
- Build resilience for leaders, managers, and employees – begin now.
- Demonstrate care, empathy, and compassion.
- Communicate frequently and not just about the business, but also to listen and to recognize what everyone is experiencing.
- Emphasize purpose and meaning.
- Consider work-life integration and ways of working in the future.
- Plan physical safety measures to ensure health and safety.
- Reflect on environmental actions your organization may consider.
- Assess career and financial wellness.
- Connect socially with your employees – schedule video conference discussions, happy hours, celebrations – even as you are beginning operations.
- Co-Create how you and your leadership team want to be in the new world. How will your business operations and ways of doing business change?
- Foster all dimensions of organizational and individual well-being.
This approach necessitates a vision to implement all dimensions of organizational and individual well-being – moving beyond physical aspects of the business and the work environment. This broader model of well-being is the direction that safety, wellness, and HR have been moving toward. Now all leaders have this incredible opportunity to plant and nurture the seeds in order to cultivate all dimensions of well-being within their organizations.
The other crucial realization in all of this is the key role for safety, occupational health, public health, and wellness. It’s time for safety and wellness professionals to breakdown the silo walls and move from compliance and benefits to strategic members of business operations.