Canadian employers focus on the road ahead after COVID-19

Some organizations are shifting from crisis management to planning a safe return to work

Canadian employers focus on the road ahead after COVID-19

Organizations in Canada are now taking ‘proactive steps’ to improving their workplace and adopting new business protocols more easily under the new normal.

Despite the continuing risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, leaders are reportedly hoping to gain better control of the crisis by putting employee needs first, according to a new global study by professional services firm Aon.

READ MORE: Is your team ready to return to the office?

“Although the humanitarian and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to climb, many organizations are beginning to shift their focus from crisis management and business continuity to planning a safe return to work – amidst a new normal for business operations – once stay-at-home regulations begin to relax,” said Rejean Tremblay, chief commercial officer at Aon Canada.

  • 92% of organizations are prioritising employees’ health and safety
  • 84% are enhancing employee communications and total well-being
  • 71% are focusing on improving work/life balance

Constant communication lies at the heart of most return-to-work strategies, the study found:

  • 78% of employers are providing new health and safety protocols
  • 73% are sending numerous messages from senior leaders
  • 40% are informing employees about the organization’s financial health
  • 36% are highlighting resources and tools on well-being

READ MORE: How will business protocols change in a post-pandemic workplace?

The majority of Canadian businesses (93%) will also take their lead from government leaders and public health experts when deciding who among employees will return to the worksite first. Some will gradually ease workers in, based on their role (82%) or location (71%).

But other companies are taking their preparations further. More than two in five employers told Aon they plan to give workers’ a health assessment first before allowing them to return to the office, and more than half (52%) are considering a similar move. Other options include:

  • Reconfiguring the office layout (97%)
  • Restricting access to common areas in the office (92%)
  • Providing workers with personal protective equipment (60%)

“This survey shows that Canadian organizations are taking proactive steps to improve their workplace and ease the return to the office,” Tremblay said.

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