What Companies Can Do to Address Employees’ Back-to-Work-Anxiety

Since its onset in the first quarter of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed 4.5 million lives, infected almost 219 million individuals and caused the loss of 114 million jobs worldwide. Part of the death statistics are the grandparents of your friend’s co-worker, a friend of an acquaintance, a neighbor’s friend, your colleague’s brother, until it hit closer to home and infected your own close friends, your family members, even your kids. 

All around the world, many are fighting their own internal and external battles in coping with the pandemic. If you can honestly say that you haven’t had sleepless nights, feelings of grief or anxiety attacks during the pandemic, then you are one of the few very fortunate ones. 

While employees’ emotions are running high, employers are grappling with keeping business afloat. Calling people to return to the physical workplace is one solution that might be able to help companies reverse their negative performance- however, balancing business needs with employees’ back-to-work anxiety is truly a major challenge for all organizations now. 

Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report, 3.9 million individuals have left their jobs for June 2021 alone. One of the major reasons identified was the unwillingness of many to return to the workplace. 

Why do people feel so anxious about going back to the office and how can employers help employees cope? 

Change can be unsettling

For the past one and a half years, many people have gotten used to working from home. They have built their routine around this work setup and have enjoyed the benefits of flexibility, the feeling of being safe at home with their loved ones, less distractions and being able to work in their pajamas. 

Once you’ve gotten used to a certain way of working, any kind of change can push you out of your comfort zone. All the bad news about COVID-19 has led to the fear of going out and being mixed with other people among some employees.

A 2020 study by Growmotely shows the overwhelming preference for remote work, even after the pandemic: 74% of professionals expect that remote work setup will be the standard in the new normal and 97% of employees do not want to go back to the office full-time.

Any kind of transition can cause a spike in people’s level of anxiety and with the ongoing pandemic, it does not take much to push people over the edge. 

What you can do: Make the transition from remote work to the return back to the workplace gradual. If you can adopt a hybrid setup, where employees can work a certain number of days at home and the remaining days at the office, that would be a good start to gently ease people back into the in-office work routine.

Utilize technology and team productivity softwares, such as Asana, Trello and Google Workspace Tools,  to help you monitor the results of employees located in different locations. Team leaders must be trained on how to track not only their subordinates’ tasks and work-related challenges, but also their personal and emotional well-being.

Consider establishing a Transition Committee- made up of employees from different departments and levels, to develop your company’s transition plan and monitor its implementation. Getting the direct involvement of key individuals during this period will help ensure that you get more information and ideas, and there will be more positive influencers across the company, for your desired change.

Safety concerns

Going out of the house, working face-to-face with colleagues, being exposed to unvaccinated people, taking public transportation- these can increase the chances of people contracting the dreaded COVID-19 virus. Employees who live with high-risk members of the population, such as the elderly or kids, or have comorbidities themselves, tend to experience more back-to-work anxiety.

At the workplace, there might be stark differences on how vigilant co-workers are in adhering to safety precautions. Colleagues who refuse to wear a mask and continue to participate in different social gatherings might be seen as a threat to others’ health and safety.

Long and crowded commutes are one the most common complaints among employees, even before the COVID-19 outbreak. A study by the Royal Society of Public Health in the UK reports that 55% of commuters experience increased stress levels. Now, fear and uneasiness in taking a vehicle with strangers have multiplied and people are looking for safer mobility options.

What you can do: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Let your employees know what the company is doing to create a safe working environment for them, when they return to the office. Create a COVID-19 handbook, establishing your complete and concrete guidelines in ensuring the safety of your employees. 

The handbook should also list the behaviors required from employees: Will face masks be mandatory while inside your workplace? If an employee experiences symptoms, will he be allowed to report to the office? What is required from employees who got sick and will be returning back to the workplace- will a medical clearance be needed? These are examples of questions that should be answered by the handbook, with proper sanctions for employees who fail to follow the protocols.

People are worried about getting sick and being away from their loved ones. They fear about medical expenses, should they get hospitalized. If your company can afford it, consider upgrading your organization’s health card coverage and insurance. Extend the benefits to their loved ones too, if possible. 

Prepare your workplace to meet social distancing guidelines. Map out a seating plan that allows a two-meter distance between workstations, and implement a hot-desking system, to avoid overcrowding in certain areas. 

Make sure that you have the complete hygiene and sanitation needs for the workplace:

  • Alcohol / hand sanitizer dispensers on convenient spots
  • Antibacterial hand soap in the restrooms
  • Thermal scanner to test people’s temperature prior to entry
  • Consider adding a HEPA filter air purifier
  • A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant 
  • A cleaning and disinfecting schedule / plan that includes more frequent wiping for high-touch surfaces and objects
  • Consider installing a disinfecting area / tunnel on your entrances- make sure that the solution used is safe on people’s skin and lungs

Employers can also ease their employees’ back-to-work anxiety by creating a safe mobility plan, to minimize their exposure to other people in their commute to and from the workplace. 

A recent McKinsey report shows that less than 10% of the people surveyed believe that shared micro-mobility, public transport, car-sharing or ride-sharing are safe methods of transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, 81% see travelling via a private vehicle as safe, while it is 55% for walking or riding a bike / scooter.

With the re-opening of offices, expect that the need for parking spaces will increase, as more people opt to drive their own private vehicle. Some will use a bike / e-bike or scooter / e-scooter as their form of transportation. 

A safe commute for employees ensures a safer workplace, so consider creating a re-opening mobility plan that includes more support to employees’ commuting needs: (can link to commuting article) 

  • Flexible parking arrangement
  • Parking for bikes / e-bikes or scooters / e-scooters
  • Incentivize employees who walk and bike to the workplace- you can level this up by offering a buy-a-bike or rent-a-bike program
  • Private company shuttle
  • Incentivize carpooling between employees- offer free or priority parking, free gas, car disinfection kit for those who carpool with others
  • Car-sharing within the company

A flexible parking arrangement is a win-win solution for the increase in demand for parking spaces. More employees will be able to avail of parking slots, while companies can maximize the use of the available spaces that they pay for. 

Monitoring parking manually and with the use of spreadsheets can be time-consuming, especially if you are implementing the hybrid work setup and employees have varying schedules on when they will be reporting to the workplace. 

Use a parking management software to automate your parking reservations and allocation. The undisputed number one, Wayleadr.com, uses a specialized algorithm to manage your preferences- you can even combine reserved parking with first-come, first-served slots, and set measures for priority among users. 

Since it comes in a mobile app, employees can access it easily, even while on the go. 

Adjustment in home life routine / schedule 

The pandemic has changed all our routines and way of life. It is not just the professionals who have to work remotely, daycare centers are closed too and kids have to learn via online schooling or home-schooling. Parents need to guide their kids on their homeworks and projects, which is an added stress factor for many. 

People have built their working routine around the schedule and needs of family members and individuals they live with. 

While going back to the workplace (at least part of the time) might be inevitable, allow employees time to adjust their schedules, especially if they have other kids or elderly family members living with them. Many are anxious about letting babysitters or caregivers into their homes, as this increases their family members’ exposure to possible virus carriers. 

What you can do: Start by listing the company’s non-negotiables for the return to the workplace. Should every employee report to the office for a certain number of days per week? Which departments are most needed physically? Will you allow some employees to still work 100% remotely? 

From there, you can gauge the level of flexibility that you can extend to your employees. If it’s possible, let employees decide on their schedule within your set guidelines. When they are given the opportunity to have some control over their schedule, employees feel more at ease about the transition.  

Trusted by the world’s biggest companies to manage employee parking

Mental health issues

Coping with the stress and uncertainty of the whole COVID-19 situation has caused mental health issues to be at an all-time high. According to a study, almost 18% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past three months, developed depression, anxiety or dementia. This is two times the rate for people who weren’t infected with COVID-19. 

While the person might have recovered from the virus already, symptoms associated with it can last for months and affect a person’s quality of life and health. 

The loss of a close family member or friend due to the virus or any other reason can also leave long-term psychological effects on a person. 

Chances are high that you might have employees who are suffering from mental health problems and anxiety attacks now, whether these are diagnosed or undiagnosed. When a person reports back to work and interacts with his coworkers, this anxiety might rub off on others, and this is something that cannot be ignored by the company. 

What you can do: Create a mental health program for your company. Oftentimes, taking care of one’s physical health can have a huge impact on mental wellness, as well. 

  • Educate people on the ways to stay healthy, like eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep and engaging in physical activities. 
  • Host a mental wellness workshop, where people can express themselves and learn the proper ways to cope.
  • Introduce 15-minute exercise breaks in the office. Have people stand up, jump or walk around, and have fun moving their bodies with their colleagues.
  • Have a quiet room where people can unwind and meditate. Fill the room with plants and relaxing music.   

A mental health program can be integrated with an overall wellness program, with activities that cater to all aspects of the employees’ health: physical, emotional, psychological, social and even financial. 

For more serious mental health cases, the employee needs to talk to a counsellor, psychiatrist or mental health specialist. Since getting professional help might be costly, consider having a resident counsellor for your workplace, so people know who to approach, should they need someone to talk to. 

This is a stressful period for each one of us- for individuals and for businesses all over the world. As you transition from telecommuting to requiring employees to report back to the workplace, keep in mind that back-to-work anxiety might spike up. 

Listen to your employees and let them know that the company is open to dialogue and going the extra mile in ensuring their well-being. 

Doing the necessary steps to ensure your employees’ health and safety will go a long way in improving company morale for the long-term. 

Wayleadr.com is your partner in solving your company’s changing parking needs, as you re-open your workplace in the new normal.

Join industry leaders from companies like Sanofi, Indeed.com & CBRE, schedule a demo with Wayleadr.com today and solve your parking problems in the click of a button.  

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A nice view of the city of Sydney from the harbour bridge

NEW YORK CITY, NY / July 8, 2024 / Wayleadr, the trailblazing force behind Arrival Solutions, proudly announces its strategic expansion into the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. This significant milestone marks a new chapter in Wayleadr’s mission to revolutionize employee arrival experiences worldwide.

Wayleadr has a proven track record of transforming parking and space management for prestigious clients such as Uber, OpenAI, Riot Games and L’Oréal. With its innovative platform, Wayleadr cuts administrative tasks by 50 hours per month and boosts parking availability by up to 40%, effectively addressing the challenges of employee parking and improving space utilization.

Garret Flower, CEO of Wayleadr, shared his enthusiasm for the expansion: “We see the future, and it’s about making the complex simple. Wayleadr’s expansion into the APAC region isn’t just a business move; it’s a mission to bring seamless, efficient, and sustainable arrival solutions to a rapidly urbanizing world. Our goal is to transform every journey, eliminating guesswork and frustration, so people can focus on what truly matters. Imagine this, every minute saved in arrivals is a world of possibilities elsewhere.”

As an Arrival Solution, Wayleadr empowers enterprise organizations by providing a seamless, all-in-one arrival experience for employees. Wayleadr’s platform leverages real-time data and predictive analytics to streamline parking allocations, reduce congestion, and enhance employee experiences with features such as online booking for parking, desks, and meeting rooms, as well as automated access control. The company also supports green parking initiatives by managing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and promoting carpooling (Wayleadr).

The APAC expansion will involve setting up regional offices and forming strategic partnerships to meet the diverse needs of Wayleadr’s enterprise clients in the region, as well as cities and companies across Asia and the Pacific. This initiative aims to help businesses optimize parking spaces, enhance employee satisfaction, and promote greener urban environments through Wayleadr’s advanced arrival technologies (Wayleadr).

For media inquiries, please contact:
Amy DeCicco
E: [email protected]
P: 908-578-8597

Employee morale and productivity are crucial factors in determining an organization’s success. As technology continues to shape our work environments, the tools we use daily play a significant role in how we feel about our jobs and how efficiently we perform them.

A well-integrated tech stack can be a game-changer for organizations, transforming the way employees work and boosting both satisfaction and output. This blog post explores how upgrading your tech stack can lead to happier, more productive employees and a more successful business.

Understanding the Tech Stack

A tech stack, in the context of a business environment, refers to the collection of technology tools, software applications, and digital platforms that an organization uses to operate efficiently.

This includes everything from basic hardware like computers and servers to sophisticated software solutions for project management, communication, and data analysis.
A typical tech stack might include:

  • Hardware: Computers, servers, mobile devices
  • Operating systems and productivity software
  • Communication tools: Email, instant messaging, video conferencing
  • Project management and collaboration platforms
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Data storage and security solutions
  • Industry-specific software and applications

In today’s competitive business landscape, having an updated and efficient tech stack is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. Companies that lag behind in adopting modern technologies often find themselves struggling to keep pace with more agile competitors.

The Impact of Tech Stack on Employee Morale

Technology plays a significant role in shaping employee satisfaction and morale. When employees have access to modern, user-friendly tools that make their jobs easier, they’re more likely to feel valued and engaged in their work.

Conversely, outdated or inefficient tech tools can lead to frustration and decreased morale. For example, slow computers, cumbersome software interfaces, or unreliable communication tools can cause daily annoyances that accumulate over time, leading to stress and dissatisfaction.

Uber Case Study

Companies that invest in modern, intuitive technologies often see a boost in employee engagement and satisfaction. A prime example of this is Uber’s implementation of Wayleadr’s all-in-one Arrival solution at their Mission Bay office. Facing parking challenges with 3,500 employees competing for just 465 spots, Uber implemented a reservation system using Wayleadr’s allocation algorithm. This allowed employees to secure parking spots in advance, significantly reducing congestion and stress around the office.

Angela Genochio from Uber’s Transportation Program noted:

“Wayleadr turned empty parking spots into hubs of efficiency, saved us tons of wasted admin time, and made manual management a thing of the past. Now, we have the insights we need on space utilization, making every space work smarter for us.”

By addressing this daily pain point, Uber not only improved the arrival experience for its employees but also enhanced overall job satisfaction. The solution provided significant financial benefits to employees by saving them daily parking costs in the Mission Bay area, further boosting morale.

Boosting Productivity with the Right Tech Stack

An optimized tech stack can streamline workflows and dramatically improve efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks, facilitating seamless communication, and providing easy access to necessary information, the right tech tools can help employees focus on high-value work.
Some specific tech tools that can enhance productivity include:

  • Project management software like Asana or Trello for better task organization
  • Communication platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams for quick, efficient messaging
  • Automation tools like Zapier for connecting different applications and automating workflows
  • Cloud storage solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox for easy file sharing and collaboration

Data analytics tools also play a crucial role in productivity enhancement by providing insights that help in decision-making.

Key Considerations When Upgrading Your Tech Stack

When evaluating and upgrading a tech stack, businesses should:

  • Assess current pain points and inefficiencies
  • Research available solutions that address these issues
  • Consider compatibility with existing systems
  • Evaluate costs and potential return on investment
  • Gather employee input and feedback

Employee input is crucial in the selection process. After all, they’re the ones who will be using these tools daily. Their insights can help identify which features are most important and which solutions will be most readily adopted.

Training and support are also essential for ensuring a smooth transition and effective use of new tools. Without proper onboarding, even the best technology can go underutilized.
Finally, businesses should prioritize scalability and future-proofing when selecting new tech solutions. The chosen tools should be able to grow and adapt as the company evolves.

The Role of Wayleadr in Enhancing Morale and Productivity

One innovative addition to a modern tech stack is Wayleadr, a smart parking management solution. Wayleadr seamlessly integrates with existing systems to simplify parking allocation and management, addressing a common source of daily stress for many employees.

Wayleadr improves employee morale by:

  • Eliminating the frustration of searching for parking spots
  • Providing a fair and transparent system for parking allocation
  • Reducing commute-related stress and anxiety

In terms of productivity, Wayleadr offers significant benefits:

  • Saves time previously spent on parking-related issues
  • Reduces late arrivals due to parking difficulties
  • Allows employees to start their day on a positive note, free from parking-related stress

Iress, a technology company providing software to the financial services industry saved over £50,000 a year in just one location. In the process, they eliminated time spent on parking administration, and increased employee happiness.

A well-chosen tech stack is more than just a collection of tools—it’s a strategic asset that can significantly enhance employee morale and productivity. By streamlining workflows, facilitating better communication, and eliminating daily frustrations, the right technology can transform the work experience.

By investing in a thoughtful, employee-centric tech stack, businesses can create a happier, more productive workplace—setting the stage for long-term success in an increasingly competitive business landscape.

The landscape of modern commuting is undergoing a silent transformation. As electric vehicles (EVs) gain traction among consumers, they’re not just changing how we drive—they’re reshaping workplace dynamics in subtle yet profound ways.

This shift towards electrification is more than a trend; it’s a fundamental change driven by environmental consciousness and technological advancement.

The Rise of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are no longer a niche market. They’re rapidly becoming a mainstream choice for consumers, backed by government incentives and growing environmental awareness. The numbers tell a compelling story:

Last year, the U.S. was one of the world’s fastest-growing countries for EV sales, with a 50% year-over-year increase, according to BloombergNEF.

EVs represented 9.2% of new light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S. last year, accounting for about 1.6% of all light-duty registered vehicles. California leads the charge, with about 37% of all U.S.-registered EVs.

Looking ahead, the future seems bright for EVs. BNEF initially predicted U.S. EV registrations would grow at an average rate of 40% annually over the next five years, potentially reaching 26 million by 2028.

However, a revised forecast in April suggested a near-term slowdown, with 31% year-over-year sales growth expected in 2024.

Workplace Charging: A Game-Changerd

As EVs become more prevalent, the need for accessible charging infrastructure grows—especially at workplaces. Workplace charging stations are no longer just a perk; they’re becoming an essential amenity.

Roughly 70% of prime U.S. office buildings are now equipped with charging ports.
These stations offer various charging speeds, from slower Level 1 chargers to rapid DC fast charging options. For employees, workplace charging provides convenience and cost savings. For employers, it’s an opportunity to support sustainable commuting and enhance their green credentials.

Shifting Workplace Dynamics

The presence of EV chargers is subtly altering workplace behaviors and expectations:

  • Commuting patterns are evolving as employees plan their workdays around charging availability.
  • Hybrid work schedules are influencing peak charging times, with many employees prioritizing office days for vehicle charging.
  • Companies are finding that EV charging can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining talent. According to CBRE’s Occupier Survey, 30% of companies favor offices with EV chargers, a preference that rises to 40% at large companies.

Challenges and Considerations

Implementing workplace charging isn’t without its hurdles. Employers must navigate:

  • Installation costs and infrastructure requirements
  • Fair allocation of charging spots
  • Potential increases in electricity demand

To address these challenges, companies can:

  • Conduct employee surveys to gauge interest and plan accordingly
  • Consult with utility providers to understand grid impacts
  • Establish clear policies for charging station use

Looking to the Future

As EV adoption continues to grow, we can expect to see significant changes in workplace infrastructure and technology.

The integration of renewable energy sources with charging stations is likely to become more common, aligning with broader sustainability goals. Advancements in charging technology may lead to reduced charging times, making workplace charging even more convenient for employees.

Additionally, as EVs become more prevalent, there will likely be increased pressure on workplaces to provide adequate charging facilities to meet growing demand. These developments will further cement the role of EVs in shaping workplace dynamics and commuting patterns.

How Wayleadr Can Help

Implementing and managing a workplace charging program can be complex, but solutions like Wayleadr can significantly simplify the process. Wayleadr offers a suite of tools designed to simplify EV charging management in the workplace.

These tools enable efficient allocation and rotation of charging spots, ensure fair access to charging infrastructure, optimize usage of charging stations, and provide data-driven insights for future planning.

With features like automated scheduling and real-time availability updates, Wayleadr empowers companies to seamlessly integrate EV charging into their workplace operations, enhancing employee satisfaction while maximizing the utilization of charging resources.

As the quiet revolution of EVs continues to unfold, workplaces that adapt and embrace this change will find themselves at the forefront of a more sustainable and employee-friendly future. The road ahead is electric, and it’s reshaping our work environments in ways we’re only beginning to understand.

Ready to power up your workplace for the electric future? Transform your office into a hub of sustainability and employee satisfaction – the road to a greener tomorrow starts here.