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Mistakes to Avoid on your Return to the Workplace Survey

Follow these guidelines for your Return to the Workplace survey.

As your organization begins to work through the logistics of reopening your workplace, we recommend gathering employee input to inform your reopening plan. One approach we recommend is to launch a "return to the workplace" survey to gauge employee perceptions of safety and understand how best to support employees as they transition back to the office.  Quantum Workplace has developed three new "return to workplace" survey templates to help you with this process; you can find these in your Surveys & Pulses Administration section or contact your Customer Success Manager for assistance. 

While there are several important factors to consider when reopening the workplace,  not all topics related to reopening are a good fit to include in a company-wide survey. Some decisions are best left to experts and some topics are best addressed in one-on-one conversations.

When you are trying to decide whether to include a topic on to your return to the workplace survey, ask yourself the following questions: 

1. Will we take employee feedback into consideration when we make our decision on this topic?
If input from employees will not change how you will handle a given topic,  don't include it on your survey.

2. Do we have the bandwidth to respond or take action based on the survey results?
Limit your survey to topics that your team can reasonably respond to or take into consideration. 

3. Will we be able to follow up with an employee about their specific concerns? 
Avoid including questions about individual employee needs in a company-wide survey. These questions are likely better addressed in a one-on-one conversation between the employee and their manager. 

In addition to asking yourself the above questions, there are a few specific topics associated with returning to the workplace that we recommend keeping out of your survey. The majority of these questions are better suited to individual conversations between employees and their managers. 

  1. DON’T:  Ask about employee preferences or perceptions around PPE usage and other safety precautions (e.g., “I am willing to wear a face mask at work.”) 
    INSTEAD: Consult with experts about the right level of safety protection equipment and implement that level of safety for your workforce.

  2. DON’T: Ask employees about their medical histories or if they have any pre-existing conditions that would increase their risk for contracting COVID-19 (e.g., “Do you have any illnesses that would prevent you from returning to the workplace?”) 
    INSTEAD: Managers should have one on one conversations about the obstacles that would prevent employees from returning to the workplace. 

  3. DONT: Ask survey questions specific to personal or family situations (e.g., “Do you have any family members who have contracted COVID-19?”) 
    INSTEAD: Managers should be the primary avenue for addressing individual employees’ personal and family situations.  As an organization or a HR team, promote organizational and community resources that are available to employees who need them.
  4. DON’T: Put out a blanket request for volunteers to return to the workplace (e.g., "Are you willing to return next week?”) 
    INSTEAD: Consult with experts to develop a thorough return to the workplace plan including any physical changes that need to be made to the workplace. Once that plan is in place, you can share that context with employees and gauge who is interested in returning first:
    "We have a plan to safely reopen the office in four weeks. We want to understand how many people are interested in coming back at that time. Please indicate whether you would be interested in returning to the office next month .")
    If possible, provide workers with options about when they would return to workplace as well as their schedule/ work hours.  

  5. DON’T:  Ask generic questions about well-being or emotions that can be misinterpreted or that can change day-to-day (e.g., “How healthy and happy are you feeling?”)
    INSTEAD: Managers should have continuous conversations with their employees individually about well-being and nudge their team to make the right choices for themselves. 

Quantum Workplace has created three survey templates to help you get started on your return to work survey, which are available to all customers. If you have access to Surveys, you can find these templates in Surveys & Pulses Administration. If you are new to Surveys, contact your Customer Success Manager to get access.