Return to Work Anxiety: How to Help Your Employees

As governments loosen restrictions, many employers have begun developing plans to ensure that employees are brought back to an office setting safely. This includes operational and logistical considerations, setting up employee schedules, elevator usage policies and much more. But it’s important to also address and plan for how to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety around the return to work.

These uncertain times have taken a toll on the mental health of many employees, affecting future productivity and engagement levels. According to a survey conducted by KRC Research and Weber Shandwick, 45 per cent of employees are afraid that their employer will bring them back to the office before it is safe. Additionally, only 34 per cent of employees feel safe returning to work when there is a vaccine or treatment and 52 per cent of employees have growing concerns about the future of their company and their role.

Here are few tips that can help employers strategize for the new normal and address return-to work anxiety:

1. Communicate transparently and regularly
Consistent two-way communication is key to managing employee anxiety. Ensure that your teams receive regular updates about company performance, ongoing initiatives and any business-related information. Keep employees abreast of information that is critical to their role and to the success of your organization. Endorse transparency and engage teams to be a part of the growing conversation.

2. Implement Recommended Public Health Measures
Employees need to be aware of how the company is implementing, monitoring and enforcing government recommended public health measures. CDC provides a comprehensive guideline to help businesses and employers respond to COVID19 within the workplace. Provide your employees with assurance that preventive steps are being taken, closely monitor developments and update protocols as the situation evolves.

3. Provide training to leadership teams
Employees will depend on their managers and leaders to ensure a smooth back to work transition. Organize virtual training sessions that focus on managing a hybrid workforce, developing emotional intelligence and building a collaborative work culture. Arm your leaders with the necessary resources and tools to effectively address employee anxiety over return to work and provide healthy ways to cope with it.

4. Be Flexible
If your company has implemented remote work, consider surveying your employees to see how they feel about continuing that arrangement for a definitive period of time. Gauge the success of your remote work experiment by monitoring the productivity and engagement levels. Employees will expect flexibility, particularly if they are looking after children and parents. For employees that thrive better in an office setting, evaluate and plan for hybrid working arrangements.

How to Market Company Culture on Social Media

There aren’t too many companies today that don’t have a social media presence. Social media is a mainstream marketing tool, highly effective at growing brand awareness, cultivating relationships with your customers, and promoting your products or services. But do you ever use this all-star tool to highlight your company culture? If the answer is no, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to attract talent.

Passive and active job seekers will inevitably explore your company pages across different social channels and will even look at profiles of your existing employees. Which is why it’s so important to regularly post social content that paints a genuine portrait of your company’s culture, the perks and benefits of working there, and the amazing people that you employ.

Celebrate your employees
One way to showcase your company on social media is by celebrating your employees. Highlights of employee milestones, personal stories, and welcome messages about new additions to the team are great suggestions. A big trend on social media right now is content around unique ways in which people are working from home and dealing with its challenges (sometimes comically). Doing this shows the potential candidate that you value your workers, that you take pride in their contributions. Plus, such posts are also more likely to result in greater brand advocacy, yielding more internal likes and shares.

Promote company events
Does your company host a regular social outing? Or do you organize an annual team building affair or a charity drive? If so, show it off! Candidates love seeing the fun (and charitable) side of your business. While the pandemic has put the zap on any physical events for the time being, if you’re big on organizing any virtual ones, like a virtual coffee break and catch-up session, make sure to promote this as well. It’s important for potential candidates to see that you are going the extra mile, especially now, to bring your team together, in a fun way.

Profile your leaders
Building a profile for your leadership team is also a good way to showcase your company culture. Some organizations post written messages by leaders, others share videos of them speaking about an important topic. Videos, in fact, generate 12 times more likes and shares than text and images. Both are great ways of showing their personalities and thought leadership. Also, encourage your leadership team to comment on content posted through the company page. A vocal leadership team that is at the forefront of your content will give a glimpse to potential candidates of how your company operates.

Boast about perks and benefits
If your company provides any cool perks or in-demand benefits, talk about that in your social media content as well. For example, one company we worked with allowed dogs in the office every Friday, so their social media post for Fridays included photos of dogs working alongside the employees with a cheeky caption. Company perks, progressive policies, and benefits are all the hype and something that candidates definitely look for when choosing which company to work for.

Identify your values
Lastly, but very importantly, don’t forget to include curated content about your company’s values. Whether it’s a statement about your commitment to diversity and inclusiveness or philanthropic initiatives, job seekers want to know what you stand up for, what you believe in, and what principles guide your organization. By being vocal about this you will more likely attract candidates that share these same values.

It’s a good idea to embed company culture in all of your marketing materials but social media allows you to do it in creative ways, more frequently, and helps to spread the message further. By seeing who you are as a company, candidates will be able to make more informed choices and be better matched to your culture.

Will a four-day work week become the new normal of employment?

In 2018, nearly 70 per cent of Canadians said they would prefer a compressed four-day work week, rather than a five-day work week, according to an Angus Reid poll. Not much has changed since then. Many leaders, in fact, are now weighing the opportunity of utilizing a compressed work structure to rebuild the current economy.

We surveyed our LinkedIn audience about the benefits of a four-day work week, and the results were not surprising. 54 per cent of the respondents claimed that it would bring in greater work-life balance, while 34 percent suggested that it would increase productivity.

So here’s the big question: are businesses and government organizations equipped to embrace a four-day work week? This idea is compelling and feasible but it requires thorough evaluation and strategic execution.

1. Who Would Benefit? Companies should consider which demographic of people would benefit the most from a compressed work week. Some believe that a 4-day work week would best suit people who are in their 50’s and 60’s. This economically influential generation can make use of an extra day off by attending to tasks that are being put off such as doctor’s appointments, spending time with loved ones or pursuing a new passion. On the other hand, millennials and gen Z’s are more focused on shaping work priorities in ways that fit their daily lives, which includes remote work or a compressed work week.

2. Establishing A Trial Period: A four-day work structure is highly dependent on business and employee needs. Employees are drawn towards companies that offer flexibility and with a four-day work week concept, companies can become more desirable to job seekers. Perhaps doing a trial run for a couple of months and monitoring productivity and employee satisfaction is a good beginning point. In 2018, New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian, a trust management company, tested this compressed work structure for 2 months with 240 team members. Productivity levels increased by 20 per cent and employee stress levels reduced by 7 per cent. Similarly, in August 2019, Microsoft Japan experimented this concept with it’s Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer Program, giving 2,300 employees five Fridays off without a pay decrease and a 40 per cent increase in productivity.

3. Assessing Business Operations: To evaluate whether a 4-day work concept is suitable for a company, leadership teams need to start by understanding their work culture and make decisions around the seasonality of their business. For instance, in California, an employee is entitled to over-time pay after eight hours of work a day. This means a non-exempt employee on a four-day work week would be receiving eight hours of overtime pay every week, if companies move to a 4 day, 40 work hours scenario.

4. Stakeholder Evaluation: Businesses should examine the impact of a four-day work week structure on its stakeholders on both sides of the value chain. Will companies lose valuable business by not being available five days of the week? If your clients/vendors operate on a traditional work schedule, but your team is working a compressed week, how is this going to impact coordination and ultimately productivity? Be prepared for the challenges associated with a compressed work week and plan accordingly to mitigate any issues.


A three-day weekend sounds great, but it may not be suitable for everyone and every business. There are certainly pros and cons to doing this. Will it become a new normal of employment? Perhaps. But it will likely happen in stages and require a widespread change in attitude.

Smart Staffing Series: Accommodating In-Demand Employee Benefits

Attracting (and most importantly, retaining) top talent isn’t simply a matter of “upload a posting and wait for the applications to roll in.” The most skilled professionals have their pick of options, so to get them to consider you as a potential employer, your benefits package must be appealing. A common assumption is that a high salary is most important, but that’s not necessarily the case – in fact, more than half of employees surveyed stated they would be somewhat likely to take a job with a lower compensation offer in exchange for better benefits. Learn more about the most in-demand employee benefits to help you accommodate top talent: 

Work-Life Balance  

Benefits that aid employees in maintaining work-life balance, such as being flexible with schedules and allowing remote work, are in such high demand that many employees find them more valuable than a higher paycheck. Recent research indicates that 80-90% of workers would like to work remotely at least part time. Millennials enjoy remote work options because they are accustomed to blurring the line between work and home life. Gen X-ers like the independence it offers.  

More Paid Time Off  

Another in-demand benefit is more paid time off – and the ability to actually use it without being frowned upon or seen as uncommitted. Approximately 40% of employees reported one of their top desired benefits was for more paid time off for longer periods, such as leaves of absences or sabbaticals. 

Retirement  

The quality of employer retirement plans are of significant concern to employees, as more than 60% report their primary retirement savings is their employer retirement plan. And with more than half also worried about having enough for retirement, providing options for top-tier retirement plans can alleviate their concerns and make them more committed. Boomers, in particular, are interested in retirement-focused benefits as many of them may be playing catchup with fewer years to work with. 

Wellness Initiatives  

Physical and mental health issues can cause significant stress on employees and impact their ability to work. Wellness initiatives, such as offering healthy snack options, education on health topics, smoking cessation and weight loss programs appeal to the majority of workers. More than 50% of employees stated their employers should actively encourage workers to have healthier lifestyles.  

How Competitive is your Employee Benefits Package?

If you’re finding it a challenge to attract the tier of candidates you desire, turn to PTC’s team of recruiting experts. PTC Recruiting, a division of Bay Talent Group, has nearly 30 years of experience in collaborating with companies across sectors for their accounting, finance, and administrative staffing needs. Contact PTC today to learn more about our recruitment services.