As offices start to open backup and things get back to where they were pre-covid, there are bound to be questions, comments, and maybe even some concerns about the return to in-person work environments. Everyone’s work-life balance has changed in one way or another, so to change again can feel overwhelming. Just when the world adapted to a more remote work style, stepping back into a routine that once was the norm can have its pros and cons. Whether your team’s feelings are excitement or scarcity, it’s essential to have a plan and be prepared to make the transition back to cubicles and water cooler talk as smooth as possible.
When transitioning back to the office, the goal is to make it as seamless as possible and make sure your team feels heard, safe, and trusts you have their health in mind for all future decisions. The pressure to make these decisions weigh on many executive and management teams, and being prepared is critical to making the right decision for your organization.
The cleanliness of the office (especially all common areas) is a big concern many have with returning to their desk. Now more than ever, people are worried about the likelihood of germs spreading, not knowing who’s touching what, and the possibility of being in close quarters with someone who has the virus or who has been exposed to it. However, there are many steps that employers and employees can take to create a clean environment for all.
- Hire a professional cleaning company to come in to clean and sanitize the entire office and common areas.
- Provide multiple hand sanitizing stations.
- Supply cleaning supplies to employees to use when needed.
- Suggest employees use common areas only when needed and put small policies in place like eating lunch at their desk or outside
Creating a healthier work-life balance and having more freedom in a day’s work is definitely a pro to working remotely. Planning meetings around lunch and school pick up, fewer costs like less gas to communicate and after-school activities for the kids, and having the comfort of loungewear instead of a suit and tie is appealing. However, being face to face allows employees to focus on their work and have a designated place to be dialed in. Being in-person provides direct communication with others instead of waiting for an email or call back. The convenience of walking to someone’s desk gives an employee less time to wait and more time to be productive. In addition, an employer can see how their team is using their time and what changes are needed to run as efficiently as possible.
Having a face-to-face dialogue is easier to decipher what is working and what is not. To build and have your ideal team, focusing on how your employees feel by seeing their facial expressions, watching their body language, and feeling the energy in the space allows an employer to make communication adjustments when needed. The team dynamic plays a significant role in company success, and without having everyone together in one place, how can you know what’s working? A connected team that plays off each other’s ideas (like in an impromptu meeting for example) can lead to innovative ideas and breakthroughs. These types of meetings and experiences within your company are less likely to happen in a remote workspace.
When it comes to this big change, how and how often you communicate with employees will allow them to feel comfortable and safe. Keep your employees in the know, bring awareness to what’s to come, guide them in their next steps, and welcome their feedback. Ease the tension of worries and concerns that come your way by having a plan set in place for every step of the way.
This is the first part in our Summer of Transition series. Follow along this summer as we continue to discuss going back to work, how to be productive in a hybrid workplace, and how to feel part of the team when you continue working from home. Each person is going to have a different timeline, set-up, and experience, and ON Point is here to support everyone!