What is “The Condition Our Condition Is In”?
The title is a takeoff of a Kenny Rogers/The First Edition song; but it may be a question business owners, supervisors and workers will be asking, or may already be asking, as we approach “open for business”. We’re hearing people talk about “the new normal”.
As you read what follows, challenge yourself to see it from “the other person’s perspective” as well. Restrictions on “open for business/closed for business” are in a state of "change" and almost everybody is wondering about a “new normal”. The prospect of "returning to work" may be a source of relief for some of your employees. Others may have reservations. My observations and "things to consider" are for All in supervisory roles. They include: (Note: some of these will overlap.) IKR
During this time of quarantine; some have worked. Some have not. Which means they have experienced different quarantines. How will they work-together-again?
Does your company Policy Manual/Employee Handbook address the “new normal”? And, do you need a section on how the company might respond should there be another instance of mandated business restrictions in the future?
Whether it is written words in memos, policy revisions or words spoken between supervisors and those supervised, I anticipate a critical need to remember that “words mean things”. Choose your words carefully. (For example, furlough and laid-off have similar but also different meanings: furlough connotes unpaid leave of absence; but possibly with benefits in-force, and the suggestion of intent to recall to work. Lay-off connotes a severing of employment.) What words have you used or will you use going forward.?
This quarantine has affected people differently, supervisors need to be aware of changes in behaviors and “listen with their eyes AND their ears”.
For those businesses that have found “remote or work at home” alternatives do-able, how will you deal with resistance to “return to work” to the physical workplace before pandemic?
All worker levels have been under stress. It may show up in the behaviors of your employees; different behaviors than exhibited before “quarantine". Now is the time for patience, and extra effort in the use of listening and communication skills.
From the “I previously told you so section”, if you have previously done a staff inventory, pull it out and update it. If you don’t have one, do one. Assess your talent and create a plan for the future before the unexpected happens.
Some of your employees may return...but not stay. And, they may not be even thinking about it right now. (Hmm. This list could keep a person awake at night. couldn't it?)
In closing, look for and acknowledge the “positives”. Then build on them. If there are spots needing improvement, then create a forward focused plan to make more positives. Choose to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.