Are you ready to welcome your workers back to the office after months of working remotely? With many workers preparing to return to work, now is the time for employers and managers to get ready.
While enhanced ventilation and social distancing measures are essential, you can’t overlook the importance of supporting workers as they get reacquainted with on-site working.
If you are getting ready for this transition, use some of the tips and information to ensure you and your workers are ready for on-site work.
Communicate Your Plans
Everyone prepares uniquely. Because of this, you need to ensure your employees know what to expect as they return.
One of the best ways to convey this information is through regular communication.
Remember, many workers will still feel uncertain about coming back, which means they want to know what to expect and may require more time to adjust.
Coming back to work takes time. Your employees will be looking to you (business leaders, managers, HR, etc.) to help with this transition.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to plan a reorientation for your team. This can help formalize re-entry to the workplace.
There are a few things that should be planned and included in this reorientation. These include:
Business as Usual
You need to ensure you let employees know you don’t expect “business as usual” right when they return to work. Nothing will be “as usual” during the post-pandemic return to work.
Acknowledging this and signaling to employees that you don’t expect this is an important step to take as you move forward.
Time to Get Up to Speed
Discuss hybrid work options, staggered start times, breakroom safety, and whether or not you will require face masks. Even if they aren’t required, you can recommend workers wear them to protect themselves and others.
It’s also smart to discuss steps you have taken to ensure employees’ healthy. This may mean spacing out workstations, having workers read about smart temp and the new ventilation system you installed, and more.
Discussing these things in person allows your workers to ask questions, share their concerns, and give their opinions.
Mental Health Resources
It’s smart to give your HR department the chance to discuss mental health resources. During the reorientation process, talk about employee well-being and how your team can use benefits to access mental health assistance.
Consider Individual Productivity
When employees begin coming back to the office, their needs depend on their responsibility, personality, and style.
Some workers thrive in conventional office spaces. Other work better at home, in a more familiar and comfortable setting.
Creating a synchronous schedule can help improve overall coordination while introducing constant interruptions and communications that impact focus.
Business owners and managers should consider asynchronous schedules and where people are working.
Begin with Small Meetings
Meetings are not a favorite of most employees. Some may even dread this part of coming back to the office.
Some businesses are planning to bring everyone back simultaneously, with on capacity considerations or limits. Because of this, some workers have concerns about being able to maintain proper social distancing recommendations.
If workers have spent most of the pandemic isolated or alone, social interaction may cause anxiety.
Because of this, it’s not a good idea to host an all-hands meeting at 10:00 AM on the first day everyone returns.
Instead, host small meetings, including individual teams or departments.
Ensure Innovation and Collaboration
Some businesses or employees rely on managers to make all the decisions. However, as people come back to work, you can practice collaboration and innovation.
Managers should provide workers with guidelines and options to figure out what will work best for them.
Implement an Ice Breaker
Over the past few months or years of remote work, employees have overcome large amounts of adversity; however, they have likely encountered roadblocks, as well.
Because of this, you should try an ice-breaking event that includes everyone sharing a work-related memory from their time at home. Reminiscing on things that have happened is a great way to ease the process of reintroduction.
Focus on Inclusivity and Fairness
Fairness needs to be the focus during transition periods. That’s because, during these times, there is always the concern of favoritism among employees. Because of this, some may feel they will be treated unfairly or left out.
To ensure you remain fair and inclusive – in all things – consider the promotion process and areas that may hurt the creation of a hybrid workspace.
Support Those Who Feel Anxious
Anxiety-related to re-entry is real Some fear the increased possibility of getting ill, while others are nervous about the social interaction related to returning to work.
It’s up to business owners and HR professionals to have plans to support workers. This begins with having good communication in place and regular check-ins with team members.
Helping Your Employees Return to the Office
Do you need to create a plan to help your employees return to the office? If so, the tips and information above should be kept in mind.
Creating a plan will help ensure everyone has an easier time acclimating to working in the office setting once again. This is necessary for anyone in a management position.
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