My Employees are Making Excuses about Coming Back to the Office — What Can I Do?

Although many parts of the country are reopening, some people might not be ready (or comfortable) with returning to the workplace. Of course, if this is happening to your business, it can not only be frustrating, but quite harmful to your company’s overall health. And, it’s certainly more preferable to bring back known quantities, rather than to try and replace trusted staff. But, you’ll have to convince those reluctant individuals first.

Common Coronavirus-Related Excuses

Employees might say they get the same amount from unemployment as they earned prior. Some will say their child’s school is closed or they take care of an elderly parent. Others might cite ongoing health conditions and any exposure to COVID is a severe risk. Unfortunately, these reasons are difficult to argue against.
While a one-time incident may be overlooked, small-business owners cannot afford to accept excuses for ongoing performance problems. In a small organization, other employees quickly notice when excuses are allowed. By tolerating excuses, you create a culture of avoidance rather than responsibility. —Houston Chronicle Small Business
However, employees who believe the workplace is unsafe is another matter. It’s much easier to convince them about proactive and other protective measures. But, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a cinch to change their minds, either.

How to Deal with Employees Who are Stalling Coming Back to Work

Obviously, if someone is obstinate enough, it might not be worth the time and energy. But, if there are a few minimal concerns, it’s entirely possible to convince them to return to the workplace. Here are some helpful suggestions:
  • Emphasize safety. If they are concerned about being around a large group of people again, you can always reduce the number of people in the office, and/or space them apart. Having the office sanitized from top to bottom by a professional cleaning service will also go a long way in reducing worry and anxiety.
  • Give them more flexibility. Consider changing your sick policy in order to accommodate people who might be out for an extended period of time. You can also look into different health insurance plans to see if there’s something better available.
  • Offer incentives. If someone is truly fearful about returning to the workplace, this probably won’t work. However, people that would rather continue to work from home will most definitely want to take advantage. The type and amount of incentives are up to you, but they could go a long way in changing minds.
  • Use your influence. While you might prefer not to result to ultimatums, sometimes these are the only way to really get through to the most stubborn people. Obviously, you can’t do anything illegal, but you can change your businesses policies in regard to working remotely versus remotely working on-site.
What other suggestions do you have to deal with employee excuses about returning to the workplace? Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts and experiences. Perhaps others can benefit from your unique perspective. Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Related Posts