MEET WITH QW
ENGAGEMENT IQ
Where awesome workplaces grow.

Reopening the Workplace: Questions to Ask Employees During COVID-19

reopening the workplace during covid-19Reopening your workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic will present numerous challenges. While logistics and safety are probably top of mind, it's also critical to recognize the variety of opinions your employees will have based on their individual circumstances.

 

Concerns about exposure to the virus, availability of childcare, and other personal stressors may influence an employee's perspective about returning to the workplace.

 

Employee surveys are a good option for organizations to gain insight into employee perceptions of safety and communication. However, they aren’t the only way to hear from employees as your organization plans to reopen its physical space.

 

In this blog we’ll discuss:

  • How to gather information about reopening the workplace
  • The questions you should and shouldn’t ask
  • When and why you should ask them

Download our free Workplace Reopening Pulse Survey Templates.

 

How to Gather Information About Reopening the Workplace During COVID-19

 

While there are several important factors to consider when reopening the workplace, not all topics are a good fit to include in a company-wide survey. Some decisions are best left to experts and some topics are best addressed in one-on-one conversations.

 

Here are a few ways you can collect information from your employees about their expectations and perceptions about returning to the workplace:

 

One-on-one meetings


During COVID-19, effective one-on-one conversations have become even more critical. Whether your organization is just getting started with one-on-ones or has been using them for years, managers should be meeting with their direct reports individually to discuss the return to the workplace. 1-on-1s can be leveraged for the following scenarios:

 

To uncover employee emotions.

Asking an individual how they feel about returning to the workplace gives you a deeper sense of their personal feelings and concerns. This information can help you determine whether your organization or you as a manager can help address them.

 

When it's worth a conversation.

Concerns like the status of your employees’ summer child care situations are important to understand as you plan your reopening. A personal conversation works best to help a manager and employee discuss options, understand what level of flexibility is needed, and come to a solution that works for both parties.

 

Discussing sensitive topics. 

Concerns about exposure and pre-existing conditions can feel "cold" to measure in pulse surveys without the ability to show care in real-time. Even if employees share their viewpoint in an attributed pulse survey, it’s still valuable to better understand their point of view by discussing it one on one.

 

Checking in on goal alignment.

Employees are likely feeling disrupted due to the pandemic, so aligning on goals and objectives provides clarity and focus. For organizations offering flexibility to employees or staggering their return to the workplace, here are some questions you can ask:

  • How do you feel about returning to the office?
  • What concerns do you have?
  • Are there any additional materials, training, or equipment that you need to feel safe? 
  • Would you like to continue working from home at this time?
  • Are there any obstacles that would need to be solved in order for you to return to the office?
  • Is there anything I as your manager can help you with?
  • Are there ways that our team as a whole could better support you? 
  • Is there anything our organization could do to better support our employees?
  • What’s one process or practice that you’d like to see our team or organization continue?
  • What’s one process or practice that you’d like to see our team or organization revise or stop?

Pulse surveys


One way to get a more thorough understanding of your employees' circumstances is through survey data. Pulse surveys help organizations gain quick insight into how employees feel about critical topics such as communication, their ability to work remotely, and work-life balance.

 

These surveys provide a snapshot of how employees are doing and give people leaders the ability to dive into the data by demographics or team to target their action accordingly. Asking employees for their input is an important way to keep your employees engaged at this time.

 

Asking for feedback with these lightweight surveys demonstrates that you care about your employees and provides real-time insights to help you make adjustments and navigate your business through your transition back to “work.”

 

When deciding if a topic would be appropriate to ask your employees, ask yourself:

 

1. Will employee feedback or perceptions impact our decision on this topic?

If input from employees will not change how you will handle a given topic, don't include it on your survey.

 

2. Do we have the capacity to respond, react, or take action on the survey results?
Limit your survey to topics that your team can reasonably respond to or take into consideration.

 

3. Will we be able to follow up with employees about specific concerns?Avoid including questions about individual employee needs in a company-wide survey. These questions are likely better addressed in a one-on-one conversation between the employee and their manager.

 

Pulse Survey Questions

 

There are a few specific topics associated with reopening the workplace that we recommend keeping in your survey and a few you should leave out:

 

Do

Don’t

Consult with experts about providing the right level of safety protection equipment and develop a thorough plan that includes any physical changes to be made.

Ask about employee preferences or perceptions around personal protective equipment (PPE) usage and other safety precautions.

Conduct one-on-one conversations about the obstacles that would prevent employees from returning to work.

Ask employees about their medical history or if they have any pre-existing conditions that would increase their risk of contracting COVID-19.

Be the primary avenue for addressing individual employees’ personal and family situations.

Ask survey questions specific to personal or family situations.

Use employee feedback to understand concerns and realities or collect additional ideas, and recognize the wide spectrum of individual differences.

Apply a one-size-fits-all approach for employees or put out a blanket request for volunteers to return to the workplace.

Keep continuous conversations with employees about their well-being and nudge teams to make the right choices for themselves.

Ask generic questions about well-being or emotions that can be misinterpreted or change day-to-day.

 

COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Survey Templates

 

Returning to the workplace during COVID-19 may greatly impact employees’ experiences. Empathizing with and listening to your workforce in this delicate, complex situation will help you make better decisions. One way of doing this is by launching a "return to the workplace" pulse survey to gauge employee perceptions of safety.

 

These templates can help you understand how best to support employees as they transition back to the office, anticipate questions, and get prepared to answer transparently.

 

Working From Home: Lessons Learned

 

Purpose: Learn about what worked well and what may need to be improved as employees transition from working from home back to the workplace.

 

When: Conduct this pulse at any time to assess the effectiveness of your work from home initiatives and processes. The results of this pulse might inform future work from home policies and how remote employees can be more supported, connected, and aligned with their managers, teams, and organization.

 

Questions to Ask:

  • I felt supported by my manager when working from home.
  • I felt connected to my team when working from home.
  • I felt informed about the organization’s goals and priorities when working from home.
  • What’s one process or practice that you would like to see continued when we return?
  • What’s one process or practice that you would like to see revised or stopped when we return?
  • Under normal circumstances  how often would you prefer to work from home?

Workplace Reopening

 

Purpose: For organizations that are not able to offer flexibility to employees or populations of employees about when they may return to the workplace.

 

When: Send this pulse as you are planning your return to the workplace strategy. Specifically, use this pulse for organizations, locations, or roles that have little flexibility on the timing of their return to the workplace.

 

Questions to Ask:

  • I trust our leaders to take appropriate safety measures before allowing employees to return to our workplace.
  • I feel well-informed about the safety measures being taken to allow our employees to return to the workplace.
  • I have the materials and resources needed to perform my job safely in the workplace.
  • My organization encourages employees to stay home if I am sick or a family member is sick.
  • Aside from what has been communicated, do you have additional suggestions to allow us to continue social distancing when we reopen the workplace?

Flexible Workplace Reopening

 

Purpose: For organizations that are able to offer flexibility to all employees or populations of employees about when they may return to the workplace.

 

When: Use this pulse template survey for organizations, roles, and locations that might have more flexibility and autonomy over when they will return to the workplace. The results of this survey will help you plan your strategy ahead of the move or during the transition.

 

Questions:

  • I trust our leaders to take appropriate safety measures before allowing employees to return to our workplace.
  • I feel well-informed about the safety measures being taken to allow our employees to return to the workplace.
  • I feel empowered to decide when I will return to the workplace.
  • My manager supports my decision on whether to return to the workplace or continue working from home.
  • My organization encourages employees to stay home if I am sick or a family member is sick.
  • Which of the following factors influence your decision to resume working onsite when our workplace reopens?
  • Aside from what has been communicated, do you have additional suggestions to allow us to continue social distancing when we reopen the workplace?
  • What’s one process or practice that you would like to see continued when we return to the workplace?
  • What’s one process or practice that you would like to see revised or stopped when we return to the workplace?

 

Want to leverage these questions or topics in your organization’s re-entry plan? Download our free Workplace Reopening Pulse Survey Templates.

 

Reopening Pulse Survey Templates

 

Post A Comment

0 Comments