In organizing the structure of your workplace, getting the right policies and procedures are just the beginning.
You need to establish follow-up procedures and support services for those times when your team members may be affected by a breach in protocol or another form of support.
The Re-Emergence of Normalcy
Any time you get a group of people together, the chance of some direct or indirect adverse action may impact other members. Hence, developing a plan for best practices in order to maximize the positive and mitigate the negative responses is crucial.
This concept will be especially true as society begins to open up and our everyday lives begin to normalize. The past year hasn’t been easy for anyone, but our ability to read social cues and interact with people in person is probably the most damaging.
In fact, much of the way we interact with others will change in the short-term and possibly have more prolonged effects. We’ve ingrained social isolation habits, distancing, and more that will be difficult to change right away.
Our whole way of interacting with people will need to transform over time to become more regular.
In other words, coming out of the pandemic, people will exhibit more Post-traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, or PTSD, than prior.
Defined as a condition brought about by a terrifying event, PTSD symptoms can significantly impact sufferers’ physical and mental health.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Symptoms can become acute, occurring rapidly after an event, but typically appear a month after it occurs.
Symptoms of PTSD may include:
- The recurrent, unwanted reliving of the event
- Flashbacks associated with replaying the event over again in the sufferer’s mind
- Severe emotional and physical reactions to things that may be similar to the event
- Tendency to lean into avoidance of similar spaces, interactions, or people
Not all issues of PTSD may stem from the pandemic itself but rather how we interact with each other and treat one another. Issues of bullying, inappropriateness, and even harassment may increase due to the lack of recent social interactions between persons.
Having a program in place as you begin to bring workers back into the office is crucial. Setting up training and other support programs should be a priority within your organization, including harassment training, counseling, and other team members’ services.
The Effects of Negative Interactions Related to Harassment
Before the pandemic, harassment in the workplace occurred at an astonishing rate. In fact, it’s reported that possibly up to 81% of women have experienced one form of harassment or another in the workplace.
81% is an astounding number no matter how you look at it, so establishing a safe workplace environment with built-in protocols to handle social interaction issues must be a focus for your organization.
In order to address any issues, you need to understand the term harassment. Harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, disability, sex, national origin, or genetic information.
Some of these actions can be illegal and may create unnecessary liability for your business and organization, especially if there is a complaint that is ignored, or a culture of harassment develops within the workplace.
To protect your organization, your team members, and your business, you need to establish a clear protocol that handles employee complaints compliant with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If creating a human resource (HR) department is too cost-prohibitive, you can always find a third-party service to create one.
Many payroll services include HR staffing support as part of their service offerings. If your payroll services don’t offer HR support, search around and find one that does offer the service. It will save you a ton of time reporting, investigating, and decision-making process as needed and well before it becomes a much larger issue.
Now that things seem to be trending toward a more open society, inevitably, there will be conflicts between people. The catalyst for those conflicts will vary between the type of organization and the people involved. Still, due to the prolonged, stressful uncertainty we’ve all operated under, interactions will lack some of the past’s nuance.
For those reasons, your organization must be proactive in defining acceptable behavior, guidelines for addressing concerns, and possible ramifications for violations.