It is undeniable that the COVID-19 outbreak has forced many businesses to adapt to working from home. As the situation in your area improves you may be considering returning to the office, which can stir up anxiety among your employees.
Thus, to ease your employees from going back to the office, here are ten tips you should keep in mind:
Offer a Flexible Transition
Although you don’t want to delay transitioning back to the office for years, it shouldn’t be abrupt and mandatory for your staff. That’s because employees who have already enjoyed the work-from-home setup need to shift their mindset. And, we know adjustment takes time for some.
You can introduce a hybrid working scenario that blends both remote and on-site work. Usually, this is an effective solution to balance working from home and spending time in the office. It also can keep your workplace less populated while maintaining productivity.
Align Staff Around Your Vision
By aligning everyone about the benefits of going back to the office post-pandemic, you can make it easier for employees to condition their minds. As mentioned earlier, people who have started to enjoy working from home will need to make another mindset shift.
For instance, you can discuss with your employees the cultural and collaborative effects of an office-based setup. If you relate your shared vision to your employees, they can carry it out in practical ways, such as reinstating team customs.
This can be in the form of employee birthday celebrations, brainstorming sessions within teams, or casual Fridays.
Refresh Employees’ Social Intelligence
Just as people struggled with norms and behavior when we abruptly switched from in-office work to virtual and remote work, your people may not be fully prepared to be back in the office. Some may have forgotten proper workplace etiquette or their interpersonal skills may be rusty. TRACOM’s SOCIAL STYLE Navigator is a great tool to brush up on our people skills in advance of workplace return.
Review Your Office’s IT Infrastructure Needs
Many offices have been empty for months, so expect there will be some issues once employees transition back to the office. This could include upgrading operating systems, internet speeds, or even hardware such as computers.
Maintain Consistent Communication
Open and consistent communication is vital to a business’s success, regardless of whether you work-from-home or not. Such a culture can make transitioning back into the office easier for your employees.
Ensure that your staff state expectations and address all concerns and questions. You should also offer a step-by-step protocol on how one can transition back into the office.
By the time 100% of your workforce is back in the office, do not forget to implement health protocols. This includes physical distancing and establishing sanitation areas and a regular office cleaning schedule. In addition, you should set up a policy in case your employees show symptoms.
Redesign Your Workplace
Businesses still need to follow minimum health standards, including physical distancing, which can impact seating arrangements in the office. So, how can you implement such a protocol? Redesign your workplace by setting up pandemic-related and risk management policies.
Maintain Engagement and Motivation Activities
Changes in your employees’ routines might be stressful, leading to a decrease in productivity. This, over time, can significantly affect their morale. As a result, you must keep remote employees who are returning to the office as engaged as possible.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Encourage people to share photos of their favorite books, art, pets, etc.
- Try to organize a “Mask Challenge” or aim to promote good habits virtually.
Create a Mentally Healthy Workplace
As we’ve mentioned in the previous points, many people feel hesitant or unsafe to return to the workplace. Some of them might even have experienced high levels of anxiety or stress at the thought of doing so.
Because this has been a turbulent year with plenty of workplace changes, you need to prioritize your staff’s mental health and well-being. The same thing goes when reverting to in-office work and ensuring that the company is doing its best to mitigate risk.
Clean the Office
This might be obvious, but keeping a clean office can do wonders for the health and productivity of your staff.
Whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic or not, everyone’s hygiene and personal health should be priority and even more so if you’re planning on transitioning your employees to an office-based setup. As we always tell our clients, a clean and healthy office is a productive office.
Update Policies and Procedures
Finally, take a look at your current company policies and see if there is anything you need to update (because there will be) concerning a pandemic.
For instance, you can implement a separate sick leave policy if the cause is due to COVID-19. You can also update your HMO provisions, ensuring that you can cover such situations in the future. After all, getting hospitalized due to a pandemic can be costly.
Over to You
First off, congratulations! Because of community and individual efforts, COVID-19 is declining. So much so that companies are now slowly go back to the office.
Nonetheless, you should keep the tips listed above in mind. That way, you can get 100% of your workforce back in the office with ease.
Guest Author: Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors Office Cleaning Service NYC. Maid Sailors take pride in providing outstanding office cleaning services at affordable prices.