Will the Rule of Six Affect Employee Confidence to Return to Work?
As of September new restrictions were introduced for social gatherings of more than six people – and in some areas of the country we have since seen even tighter rules applied. While the Rule of Six doesn’t apply to workplaces that doesn’t mean that it’s not having an impact on employees. Employers need to bear in mind the influence that these rules might be having on individual and group morale, as well as looking at how to encourage staff to abide by the rules outside of work so as to keep everyone in the business safe. So, even though the Rule of Six doesn’t directly have an impact on the return to work there are still many ways in which this could be affected.
Work colleagues vs friends and family
New restrictions are having an impact on the way that people feel about their lives, including at work. Employers need to be prepared to deal with staff who may be feeling disgruntled that they can see as many work colleagues as they want but there are limits on socialising with friends and family. Incredulity among employees that it’s not safe to mix with large numbers of family and friends but this is fine in the workplace is another barrier that many employers face when it comes to helping people to adapt. Being prepared for people who just don’t want to come back to work because of the Rule of Six is essential, as well as those who aren’t really engaged with it – or following the rules – and could be increasing transmission risks in the office as a result.
Keeping staff safe and happy
One thing that the Rule of Six has done is to increase hygiene anxiety and confusion over the best way to stay safe while COVID-19 remains a serious threat. Any tightening of the rules from this point onward is likely to have a similar impact. That’s why it’s essential for employers to take the time to review existing hygiene arrangements within the office, as well as interior layouts and the way that the building is being used. Making these safer for staff – and being clear about how and where changes are being introduced – will help to reduce anxiety and boost confidence in employees that they are being properly protected at work. As a result of the new rules some staff may be feeling lonely or disconnected or generally down. Providing opportunities for socially distanced connection and collaboration in the workplace, or even just services that allow people to express how they are feeling in confidence, could be crucial to counteracting the effect that restrictions such as The Rule of Six might have.
More emphasis on being safe
Over the summer there was a general sense of restrictions being lifted in most locations across the country and at times it almost felt as if we were ‘back to normal.’ This resulted in some of the relaxed attitudes that may be contributing to the increase in transmission rates that we have been recently. For those who have found this mix of approaches confusing the new rules may actually provide more clarity on how to live safely right now. The increased emphasis on caution and social distancing that The Rule of Six has introduced may be comforting to those who felt that COVID-19 precautions weren’t being taken seriously enough.
Although the Rule of Six doesn’t directly impact the workplace it still has the potential to affect how employees feel about life in general. This could have consequences in terms of the attitudes that staff bring in to the workplace so it’s important for employers to have an awareness of what might be going on for their workforce at this time. Check out our office fit outs.