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Helping employees return to work during COVID-19

The best practices for helping employees manage their anxiety about returning to work and refractory customers in the context of COVID-19.

Getting back to business during the pandemic comes with its share of anxiety for employees. It’s not just about the fear of being infected by the virus or infecting someone else—it’s also about managing customers refusing to comply with the health and safety measures that you put in place.

While we adapt to the new normal, communication with your employees and customers is key to help alleviate stress and set clear expectations.

How to help employees manage their anxiety

  1. Contact all your employees individually or in groups to let them know they will soon be back at work. Don’t hesitate to involve them in the development of your facility’s health and safety procedures, if needed.
  2. Reassure your employees by explaining all the measures you have taken to ensure their health and safety at work, as well as those of your clients.
  3. Be transparent with your employees by clearly explaining the challenges to come. Explain to them how you intend to overcome those challenges and how important their contribution will be in the weeks and months ahead.
  4. Take all your employees’ concerns seriously and demonstrate your understanding of their fears with empathy.
  5. Provide up-to-date information on the development of the situation on a regular basis.

How to help employees manage refractory customers

In times of exceptional measures, customers’ routines and habits are disrupted. While most are resilient and compliant to the new health and safety measures, stress may push some of them to demonstrate frustration. In addition to clearly showing the guidelines you expect your customers to follow, here are some best practices to share with your employees:

  1. Calmly advise your customer that they must follow the hygiene and distancing rules within your establishment.
  2. Ask your customer to leave if they refuse to follow the rules you have set for your establishment.
  3. Stay calm and advise your customer that verbal or physical abuse will not be tolerated in any way.
  4. Do not engage in a physical or verbal altercation. Instead, call 911 when the situation escalates and your customer refuses to cooperate.

If you expect high traffic, don’t hesitate to hire a security guard to ensure compliance with the rules of physical distancing in your establishment and to protect the safety of your employees and customers.

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