3 Dimensions of Safety to Consider in Reopening Your Office

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A quick Google search for “reopening” and “security” can find dozens of articles on agreements to protect the personal safety of employees, or at least create the illusion of doing so, but what steps are organizations taking to promote employee safety? Emotional and mental health? Go back to the employees?
In all three aspects of safety, job safety is felt to be the basic element of “belonging.” More and more organizations and managers are realizing that this is the key to creating an efficient and dedicated workplace with dedicated and loyal employees.
Learning leaders can help clarify some elements of workplace safety that may not be obvious, but this will play a key role in determining whether your organization successfully negotiated a “reopening” and if this means everyone is coming back. to the site, it is officially transformed into a completely remote workplace, or a combination of on-site and remote members or a few days or a combination of both.
What is “safety” in the workplace?
Although almost everyone agrees that employees need and should feel “safe” at work, there is little consensus on what this means. Safety in the workplace includes three aspects: physical, emotional and psychological.
Personal Safety
In the COVID era, personal safety has a new meaning. In addition to agreements designed to prevent accidents and injuries, personal safety measures are designed to limit employee exposure to COVID19 and other illnesses. For example, increased cleanliness and distance, as well as the requirement to wear masks, nearly eliminated last year’s cold and flu season.
As companies reopen their offices, they are weighing whether they need to wear masks and keep their distance, and how much to strengthen their preCOVID cleaning standards or their air filtration systems. Some companies are also considering requiring returning employees to be vaccinated against COVID19 or disclosing their vaccinations.
What actions an organization takes depends on a variety of factors, including state and local laws, the type and size of the organization, and the opinions of the owner or decision maker. These decisions can also have a huge impact on whether employees feel safe emotionally and psychologically when they return to the office.
Emotional safety
Even when people are physically safe, they may not feel safe. This involves emotional safety. James Hessman explained a term in “Psychology Today”: “Emotional safety comes from within. It is the ability to “know” our feelings; to be able to recognize our feelings and then to feel them at the greatest risk. ”
Talking about emotional safety at work will allow many managers to step out of their comfort zone. Make people’s physical safety easier to understand and talk about.
In post-COVID workplaces, employees may feel emotional because of their inability to control the environment and potential exposure Not safe. Some people are not protected even if they are vaccinated because their immune systems are weak; other people are immunosuppressed family members, children who have not been vaccinated, or other reasons for feeling and vulnerability.
Others are just for others People lose trust, whether they don’t trust their colleagues to vaccinate or don’t trust their organization. Policies to ensure their safety, or they just don’t do it and prepare to go back and spend a few hours a day. Spend indoors with many other people Day.
It is not enough for business leaders to explain the processes and steps they take to create a safe workspace. Leaders must also resolve employee anxiety. Plan ahead and be transparent with employees, long before the date the manager expects to see these employees in the office is a good start.
Learning leaders can help with manager training, job assistance, and brief staff training on the reopening process, and strive to promote clear communication between workers and managers.
However, the success of these measures depends on whether workers are willing to raise any of their concerns with their managers, which is a function of psychological safety.
Psychological safety
According to Timothy Clark’s “Four Stages of Psychological Safety”, “Psychological safety is a state in which you feel (1) content, (2) safe to learn, and (3) contribute to learning. security, (4) security challenges the status quo, all of which don’t have to worry about being embarrassed, marginalized, or punished in any way. ”
Creating these conditions is the beginning; when people talk, they need to meet someone: the Leader, maybe a manager, someone who can do something, is listening.
Unfortunately, many workplaces fall short of this ideal.
Of course, this is unfortunate because it has caused losses to individual workers, but it is also detrimental to the organization Research conducted as part of Google’s ReWork program in 2015 found that psychological safety is one of the five characteristics of an effective team; in fact, it is “absolutely the most i important “at five o’clock.
Building a culture of psychological safety requires more than putting up posters that remind workers to wash their hands and maintain social distancing. It requires leaders to show empathy and understand that everyone will experience safety and reopen the office in a different way. It also requires being open to different employee experiences without being angry or defensive.
“Leaders can lay the foundation for incremental change by setting team expectations for factors that contribute to psychological safety. Doing so will help foster innovation rather than interrupt it,” said the Center for Creative Leadership.
To achieve this goal, leaders can develop processes and specifications around communicating problems, resolving conflicts, and responding to failures, mistakes, or bad news. These “power skills” are areas where learning leaders can provide guidance and training.
When planning and implementing the reopening, leaders must also understand that it takes time to create psychological safety. During the pandemic, leaders and colleagues in the organizations where some workers are on-site must be aware of the risks and extra workload these colleagues take, as well as the anxiety caused by the influx of people.
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