For organisations who have had some or all of their workforce homeworking over the last year or so, bringing workers back on site will require HR and business leaders to think about internal communications, HR processes, location tracking, performance management and more.

A good HR system will be essential in managing a back-to-site transition. Cezanne HR has everything HR professionals in mid-sized and growing UK and international businesses will need: from its core People Management module to Performance Management and Career and Succession Planning modules.

back to work scenarios

How will you ensure important information reaches employees?

Before you start to send communications out to your wider workforce about your return to on-site working plan, make sure you do indeed have a solid plan. What might seem like a given to the HR team, may not be what your business leaders have in mind. Ensuring all decision makers are aligned before communicating with staff is essential – avoiding mixed messages will also reassure people who might be nervous about returning that there is a solid plan and that everyone is on the same page.

Once you’re clear on your plan and your messaging, HR systems like Cezanne HR can help you deliver your comms across multiple channels.

For short, more immediate messages, perhaps linking back to a longer piece of communication, SMS is a great option. Cezanne HR customers use SMS for a variety of different messages, and can send SMS to over 120 different countries.

It’s also easy with Cezanne HR to set up and send personalised emails and documents – with e-signature if required – so you can make sure important information is received and read.

Cezanne HR’s workspaces are another channel for employers to communicate with staff. Like message boards, workspaces can be used to deliver and host important important, invite feedback or post announcements, with email notifications sent to staff to prompt them to read the full message on the board.

How will you know who is and isn’t on site?

Once employees are allowed back on site, it will be very important for HR and line managers to have access to an easy way to see where their employees are working from. In our article, ‘Why you want an HR system when you need to act quickly’ one of the scenarios we highlight is how an HR system can help if someone who is working on site gets COVID-19.

There are a few different ways that you can use Cezanne HR to keep on top of where your employees are located.

Cezanne HR customers can use the geo-location features in the Time module to see who has been on site and when.

Calendar events are another way to keep track of staff whereabouts. Because the system is so versatile, it’s easy for employees to update their own calendars with any kind of event, including whether they are working from home, or on site. Alongside showing up in team calendars, this data can be pulled through into the ‘Who’s Off widget’ on the home dashboard, making it easy for everyone to see at a glance who is in, or working remotely up to two weeks’ ahead.

cezanne hr widget absence

Yet another option is to use Cezanne HR’s form builder, with HR creating a form (including date fields) that employees fill in to indicate when they want access to on-site working – and that managers can then approve. Custom searches on forms can then be run to ascertain who requested/was approved to be on site. HR could also schedule a report based on the form’s custom search (the form must include the date field), that runs nightly or weekly, for instance, to stay up to date with who is and isn’t in the office.

Your employees are back on site – what’s next?

The last year has been very hard on a lot of businesses. Bringing employees back to on-site working is a good opportunity to revisit your processes to make sure you’re getting the most value from them.

While people were working from home, some organisations may have relaxed their processes around performance management or career and succession planning. As Mike from Vero HR pointed out in February in ‘COVID-19, homeworking and recruitment concerns – what HR needs to be aware of right now’:

‘Just the other day I was speaking with an HR contact who said their company has decided to suspend performance reviews for now. They need to rethink their process in light of the changed working conditions. I won’t be surprised if others have made similar decisions. A lot of people are just trying to keep the wheels turning at the moment and might hold off on formal performance management until things feel more normal.’

You can use going back to on-site working as a line in the sand for reinvigorating talent-related processes.

Cezanne HR’s Performance Management module has both check-ins and goals features, making it much easier to stay on track with performance management. Staff can record their progress, and ask for help or raise anything that might be hindering progress – it’s a very collaborative module.

And Cezanne HR’s Career and Succession Planning module enables talent mapping, and the creation of succession plans, so HR and business leaders can ensure they’re ready to meet future business demands.

And lastly … how will you manage change?

Having an HR system in place to help with all the issues raised above means that HR has more time and energy to stay abreast of government advice and guidance.

To bring people back to on-site work safely – or continue with it if a business operated from site throughout the pandemic – HR needs the bandwidth to keep up with all the existing and new requirements for working safely, to keep their processes up to date, and to communicate expectations back to the business.

To find out more about HR’s opportunity to lead on process development as the UK emerges from lockdown, look out for our upcoming article with Mike from Vero HR.

Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.