Staff concerns as workplace restrictions ease

After working-from-home during lockdown, office-based managers and staff are still adapting to the newly unfolding COVIDSafe work culture. And with the return-to-the-office rules and restrictions being frequently adjusted, many employers are grappling with a range of staff concerns.

Here are the 3 key staff concerns we are currently seeing:

1. Anxiety about returning to the workplace

Some employees are nervous and uncomfortable about returning to the office, with concerns around personal safety, such as the perceived COVID risk of taking public transport to work or sharing office space with co-workers. Social anxiety may be another factor causing an employee to feel unsure about coming back to work.

View/download our Employee Assistance Program flyer >

2. Holding onto flexible work arrangements

Many employees have enjoyed working from home and now wish to maintain more flexible or "hybrid" work arrangements. Safety jurisdictions around Australia also agree that flexible work arrangements can help create a mentally healthy workplace and improve employee motivation and productivity. The Fair Work Act 2009 outlines some employee rights around asking for flexible working arrangements. There are considerations and rules regarding how employers can manage these requests.

View/download the Fair Work Ombudsman's best practice guide to flexible working arrangements >

3. Getting (or not getting) the COVID vaccine

With Australia's COVID-19 vaccination program well underway, some workers are wondering whether their employer will make the vaccinations mandatory. This may be new territory for some employers, which needs to be carefully considered.

Read Mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace >

Employers need to plan and decide what the organisation’s position will be in each situation. Employers also need to provide regular and clear communications to their employees.

It is important for employers and managers to listen carefully to any staff concerns, talk things through, know your legal rights and obligations, and ideally come up with a win-win solution. This may mean thinking outside the box, being more flexible, explaining the measures being taken to protect employees, offering extra support services, and/or seeking professional advice.

For more information and tailored support, please contact us today.