Navigating the New Normal: Behind the Scenes Creating “Returning to the Workplace Kit”

June 10, 2020 Jen Farthing

It’s here.  


We’ve been busy working together while apart here at LRN Learning. Our partners have been seeking our advice on returning to the workplace amid the Covid-19 crisis and in so doing, navigating this new and next normal in an ethics-forward way. 


Like all of you, over the last several weeks we've been inundated with information about what a virus is and how to social distance and keep ourselves and others safe. During that time, we've focused on building something that's truly useful while grappling with generating informative material that works for all partners in a variety of industries all over the world and in many languages. Reducing every workplace scenario to apply to everyone can sometimes feel as if it applies to exactly no one, so we wanted to avoid that. We ended up constructing a three-part “kit” that is meant to be customized to fit any workplace context… and in a way that is not only principled, but practical.  


First, we created a short trailer to welcome the workforce back because it’s important to show you care about your employees and their concerns. Next, we built a short eLearning module to help you convey critical information but also the context for it. Finally, we added a few infographics to remind employees about common concerns and best hygiene practices.  


The eLearning module frames the most necessary topics as we open back up, but leaves ample space for our partners to insert policy, procedure, and organizations’ values statements so it resonates with learners while providing useful information in a compelling way.   


That means we align important, need-to-know topics—preparedness, precautions, prevention—with human touchpoints—communication and open discourse, mental and physical health, and insight on offering flexibility and options when it comes to returning in shifts and closely situated teams.  


But we can’t tell each workplace precisely how to do it at their place of work. So we instruct partners where to add the details to our framework and how to insert key examples.  


So why LRN? Because ethical decision-making when it comes to health and safety is critical to successfully managing a return to the workplace, and that’s our sweet-spot. This pandemic has tested our stamina, patience, and even our integrity. Most of all, it has tested our humanity. Each and every one of our returning members as well as those who never left their routine need to feel psychologically safe when they are back.  


As a result of this pandemic, our notion of “workplace” has forever changed. Together with leadership at each participating organization, we have answers in this course to many questions. Some will have to be figured out as challenges emerge and as time passes. The course is easily updated, and if any partners need a helping hand, we’ve got you covered. Just ask.  


This is the first in a series of releases we’ll be doing to address evolving business practices as a result of COVID-19. Each of these kits will be offered to our partners at no cost with translations available at launch in 20 languages. Next up is “Working from Home”. Followed by a course that’s specific to leading through change, a critical skill for organizations, now more than ever. 


As we charter into our new normal together, there will be many unknowns. But one thing we do know is that organizational changes that depend on employee behavior need to be grounded in ethics. 

About the Author

Jen Farthing

Chief Learning Officer at LRN

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