Practical HR Guide to Returning to The Office After Covid-19

Gradual Return to Normality

Hong Kong has reported no new cases of local Covid-19 transmissions for more than 14 days, leading to the government easing various social and business restrictions. Implementation of social distancing measures, strict border controls and closing of public facilities have facilitated Hong Kong in preventing a serious outbreak. With the virus seemingly under control for now, the government have announced that civil servants will resume public services. Private businesses are also expected to follow and return to their usual working arrangements.

As people start returning to the office, companies should take their own precautionary measures to ensure resumption is smooth. Even though the situation seems to be well controlled, employers should still be wary in case there is another wave of the virus.

Protecting Your Employees When Returning to Work

Worker safety should always be the number one priority for any company. Protecting your business’ biggest asset, the employee, is essential for future productivity. Leaders and human resources managers should carefully consider their reintroduction strategy to avoid discontent within the company.

Without a clear and concise plan, employees will not feel at ease and may lose faith in management. This can be extremely detrimental to the company atmosphere and affect the work culture. Here are some steps that you should take when reopening your doors to employees:


  • Advanced Cleaning of Premises: Hire a service to thoroughly clean and disinfect the whole office. Change or clean the filters in ventilators to ensure all rooms have maximum fresh air intake.
  • Revised Seating Plan: Try to spread the seating in the office to provide sufficient distance between each person.
  • Working Time Changes: Switch to/continue with flexible office working hours, so employees can avoid peak hour commutes to limit exchanges in crowded places.  
  • Sanitary Provisions: Provide surgical facemasks and at least 70% alcohol hand rub/ sanitizer to encourage hygiene. Cleaning staff should be provided with additional protective gear, like gloves, goggles and disposable gowns.  

In-Office/ Transitional Period:

  • Temperature Checks: Measure body temperature of every person entering the office, and request regular health declarations when possible.
  • Flow Management of People: Managing the movement of people in and around the building can limit the number of people coming into contact with one another. Set different lunch and break times for groups to minimize interactions.
  • Limited Time in Conference/Meeting Rooms: Limit the time groups of people are allowed in a small enclosed space.
  • Provide a Safe Picture: Your employee’s perception of safety is equally important as the actual level of safety. Stress and anxiety can be a real problem for workers returning to work in this pandemic. Be open to communication and accept feedback from employees. If they express concerns discuss and attempt to resolve any issues they may have.
  • Exit Plan for New Infections: An employee testing positive would cause a complete shut-down situation. HR should have a strong exit plan for when this scenario occurs and show they take safety measures seriously.
  • Update Technological Capabilities for Working at Home: This pandemic has shown companies the importance of having the capability to work remotely. A second wave of the virus could force people to return to working from home again, bolstering your technology will be vital for the preparation of this situation.
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Safeguard Your Company’s Reputation

Implementing a sound plan will help make employees feel comfortable. Businesses that do not apply any steps and take employee’s health into account will face dissatisfaction from workers. Disgruntled individuals will give off a negative vibe and hurt the business environment.

A successful transition back to work will help protect your employer branding. One wrong turn can bring down any company’s delicate reputation. Workforce management is crucial during this period. Leaders should consider outsourcing their HR and focus on getting their workforce back on track. Employers should also implement an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to show workers their wellness is crucial to them. Businesses will also benefit from receiving job performance improvement and lower turnover rates.

Management can optimise productivity by placing less focus on payroll and other HR related tasks. Learn how Links’ HR outsourcing services can assist you to advance your business, here.

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3 Key Takeaways

Employers Need a Strong Reintroduction Strategy

As companies return to their usual working arrangements, HR management will need a strong reintroduction plan for employees. Business leaders should consider providing sanitary provisions, temperature checks and other social distancing measures to paint a safe picture for workers.

Protect Your Employer Branding

An employer’s brand is fragile and can easily be damaged if employees are discontent with the strategy regarding their wellbeing. Learn how Links can protect your brand and make it even stronger! Make sure employee wellness is part of your workforce strategy. See how our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) service can help you boost productivity.

Outsource HR Functions to Optimise Productivity

With employees just returning to work, business operations will be rusty. Outsource your payroll and other HR functions so you can focus on getting your company back on track.

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Links International is an industry leader in innovative HR outsourcing with services such as payroll outsourcingvisa applicationEmployer of Record (EOR), outplacement,  recruitment and more! Contact us for more information on how we can help leverage your HR function.

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