You have a responsibility to care for your employees during the pandemic. Yet how do you manage an ever-changing parade of rules, safety measures and workplace requirements?
Our six-point guide can help you keep your workers safe and well during the toughest of times.
Keep your COVIDSafe plan shipshape
Every Australian business should have their COVIDSafe plan up and running. Check it at regular intervals, to keep your risk assessment up-to-date and stay fully compliant.
You can also explore Safe Work Australia’s online hub, which offers a wealth of workplace safety resources, the latest regulations and vaccine options.
Communicate clearly, spell things out
Staff find constantly changing messages both confusing and off-putting, so work out the best way to inform your staff as information changes. Whatever channels you use, be sure everyone has access and checks them regularly.
Be crystal clear about new work arrangements, the standard of work and compliance you expect, and the specific roles and duties of each worker.
You can’t control the information your employees get to access beyond work. You can, however, offer them genuine, government-sourced facts to counter the stream of alarmist social media misinformation that is rife elsewhere.
Be firm, not combative
Chances are, you will meet resistance at some point from employees who want to prolong working from home, or get back on-site when it’s still not safe. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect your staff – yet you also have a requirement to resume ‘business as usual’ when it’s safe to do so.
The Fair Work Ombudsman spells out when you are able to enforce home, office, or on-site working. Try to keep conflict to a minimum and accommodate preferences where you can. Sometimes, though, you just have to enforce the rules.
Try the human touch
If you’ve experienced higher levels of stress recently, you can bet your employees have too.
Construction, property, development, and real estate personnel have been at the pointy end for some time, often having to keep working out in the community during Covid outbreaks and through lockdowns, or being shut down completely, causing another kind of financial and social stress.
Invite feedback and listen to their responses. This will help you discover what your workers are really thinking, feeling, and fearing. Armed with this critical information, you can shape more holistic workplace policies going forward.
Collaborate in new ways
Many workers are feeling more isolated during the pandemic. Some miss the structure and camaraderie of their usual workplace, while others struggle with unpredictable work patterns or can’t find the information they need.
The right online collaboration tools can bring your workers in from the cold, connecting them with the workplace and each other. Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are all good options to get your projects and team spirit happening.
A word of caution, though – your quieter, shyer workers may be drowned out by more confident colleagues in group forums. Be sure to monitor and mediate, so everyone is included and heard.
Stay positive, set goals for the future
While current challenges may seem overwhelming, it’s important to send your workers positive vibes. Set goals and show your team you are genuinely optimistic about the future.
Reinforce the message – the property and real estate sectors are resilient and growing. The Construction in Australia report anticipates construction growth of 3.2% from 2022-25, while the nation’s property boom is showing no sign of abating.
Fortunately, the Gough team knows these sectors inside out. Please contact us to discuss your hiring needs, or if you need some recruitment advice.