How to Entice Anxious Employees to Finally Return to the Workplace

It may be difficult to remember, but there used to be a time — not so long ago — when the uncertainty we felt at the beginning of a new year was met with positive emotions. It was a bit of anticipation of what was waiting just around the corner for us, along with our best intentions for those resolutions we had set.

Now, unfortunately, it seems people around the world are in a constant state of distress, with 52% of workers stating they have concerns about returning to the office. Anxiety, depression and burnout all stem from this uncertainty around “what comes next.” Offices and schools are open one week, closed the next. The flight for your first vacation in years is all set, and then canceled at the last minute. How can you commit to a new year’s resolution when the world around you isn’t stable?

I’ve been grappling with the same issues with my own workplace. In March 2020, like many others, we were given the order to close up shop. We came in and cleared out the fridge, cleaned and removed all the things we needed from our desks to work from home full-time, and waved goodbye. In January of 2021, once our team was vaccinated, those who felt comfortable started to come back a day or two a week — spread out amongst massive workspace.

33% of American workers apparently feel the same way as my coworkers — ie, choosing to come into an office space in when “necessary” while continuing to work remotely. A full year later for us and we’re closing the office again; who knows when it will need to be reopened. 

While my company has the luxury of being able to facilitate distributed workers and remote work, many others don’t. Thankfully, there are affordable solutions available to help businesses overcome the most frequent issues employees have now.

1. Detection

As a business, you can’t afford to open your doors just to have to close them again because half of your staff got sick. And it’s unrealistic for small businesses to dedicate resources to check every person who comes in the door.

Enter the Virawarn Patriot. It continually monitors your room and immediately alerts you if it detects viral contaminants in the air, including COVID-19 and influenza.

2. Prevention

One thing that often came up amongst our employees and other people I’ve spoken with was that while we can control our own space, we couldn’t control the rest of the building. The space next door may share the same HVAC system as you.

In order to combat that, you can purchase the Bemis Smart Tower Air Purifier — a HEPA 13 system that scrubs out the air in a 500 square foot room around once per hour.

3. Screening

Many businesses like my own rely on testing to participate in certain events. Depending on where you are it can be difficult, time consuming, and costly to find COVID-19 tests just to come to work.

As an employer, you can get a CUE subscription for your office, or simply offer memberships for employees who need a frequent testing option.

4. Sanitization

Another issue that many businesses run into are shared devices. In my company, we have VR headsets, microphones, game controllers, tablets, phones and other devices that are often shared by many users during workshops and events.

If you find yourself in this situation, Cleanbox has a solution for you. By placing whatever tech you have into their device for 60 seconds, it will zap it clean and be ready to hand off — without frying the equipment with a liquid sanitizer.

With these safety precautions making your office a more stable environment, your employees might finally become less anxious about returning. Then, you can all start making those new year’s resolutions for 2023!

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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