How to Communicate With Nervous Employees

As the restrictions related to COVID-19 start to lift in many states, companies are looking to return to business. This will mean calling back employees who were laid off during the outbreak. As part of this process, your workers will likely be excited to get back to something resembling a regular schedule. At the same time, though, they will likely be nervous about returning to work.   

You can ease their concerns with a healthy communication program. By creating a constructive back-and-forth with your returning employees, you can streamline the process of getting back to action. You will also minimize conflict and set yourself up for a more efficient operation going forward.  

After all, while you prepare to restart your business, you have to prepare for the future. The threat of a second wave of coronavirus is still looming. At the same time, increased safety concerns generated by the outbreak has frayed everyone’s nerves.  

These dynamics make the process more complicated than it might seem at first. It’s not a matter of simply sending a text saying, “report back to work next Monday.” Employees are nervous and reluctant to return to work after COVID-19. Ease fears and gain their trust with an optimized communication strategy.  

Here are some tips to keep in mind to communicate with nervous employees:  

Start Discussions Early   

Getting back to work will represent a complicated process. Your employees have gone through a trauma. Like everyone else, they had their lives thrown into chaos by an unexpected event. You can’t expect them to jump back into work without some lead-up.   

As early as possible, start setting the stage for a return to normal business. Touch base with your key employees. See how they are holding up and build up a good foundation for future communication.  

Think About Tiny Details   

Restarting your normal operations will require that you consider dozens of tiny details. You will need to implement new policies and procedures to counteract lingering fears related to COVID-19. Don’t gloss over these smaller-seeming matters.   

Instilling confidence in your employees will start with a “devil in the details” approach to planning. Take the time to plot out every nuance, and share the information with your employees.  

Elicit Feedback  

Turn your employees into partners in the process of returning to work. They will feel more confident about the policies they helped shape. And you might get valuable information that can make the restart go more smoothly.  

As you take your initial steps towards resuming operations, survey your employees about their concerns. Find out what worries them most, and then make those priorities as you devise your plan.  

Make a Clear Plan  

Draft a step-by-step procedure for getting back to work. Your blueprint can’t involve generalities and expected improvisations. Of course, you should be willing to change as conditions dictate, but the initial design process should be comprehensive. That way, you can communicate to your employees that you’ve considered all the angles involved in ramping up operations.  


Don’t just communicate. Over-communicate. Continue to share details with your employees throughout the process of getting back to work. Once operations have resumed, the communication should continue. Meanwhile, be prepared to answer questions. Turning the discussion into an ongoing dialog will allow you to maintain confidence as events unfold.  

Stay Responsive  

You will need to stay flexible as the shape of the outbreak changes. Even though many areas have begun the process of opening up, there are signs that the outbreak could continue. Meanwhile, concerns about a second wave could complicate the process of getting back to normal operations.   

These factors make research a key priority going forward. Follow developments closely and be prepared to respond. Create contingency plans in case a second shut down becomes necessary.  

Open communication and a well-consider action plan will allow you to return to normal operations as quickly as possible. Having the right employees makes this an even smoother transition. By partnering with a top-ranked staffing firm, like LaborMAX, you can build a team ready to answer any challenges you face.  

Contact LaborMAX Staffing today to learn more.