Newswise — As COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines are lifted, businesses are now faced with the challenge of how to keep their employees who are returning to work motivated and engaged. Findings from published research conducted by Zhenyu Yuan at the University of Illinois Chicago are now available. 

Some takeaways: 

  • Given the turmoil and distress during lockdowns and quarantines, employees may have trouble “reconnecting” with their work.
  • This is an important topic because “highly engaged employees tend to intrinsically enjoy their work and outperform others,” Yuan says.
  • As employees are physically returning to work, they also need to be mentally prepared to reconnect.
  • Managers need to take concrete measures to promote workplace health and safety so that employees feel safe at work.
  • That is, managers and employees are in this together, thus “they need to work together to promote engagement, workplace productivity, and safety. This will be critical as businesses and employees try to rebound,” Yuan notes. 

Given that the study was based on data collected from Wuhan, China, Yuan cautioned about the applicability of the findings across different countries and regions.