Posted on September 2020
Businesses have started reopening and many are inviting employees back to the office. While this may come as a relief to anyone tired of working from home, for many, this is a stressful time. Will it be safe? How will I get back into the flow of non-remote working? How can employers make this transition as seamless and stress-free as possible?
Here are some tips for transitioning back to working at the office.
1. Expect a Slow Transition
Getting everyone back to work can’t and shouldn’t be a quick process. Many employees fear getting sick and have grown accustomed to their work from home routines. Reverting to commuting, childcare plans, and 9-5 productivity will be challenging.
The employer and the employees need to have patience and understanding. Start with beginning phases that slowly reintroduce some employees back to the office. If something doesn’t feel safe or comfortable, be ready to pivot and take a step back.
2. Implement Social Distancing
Safety comes before productivity. Before you or the rest of the team comes back to the office, ensure there is a detailed plan. You want to cover the following bases in-depth:
A seating plan that allows 6 ft between employees (this could affect how many employees come back to the office or force a rotating schedule)
A cleaning schedule that includes a dedicated person or team managing it
A plan when employees feel sick (this means allowing remote work to continue and leaning on it when needed)
If your office can’t guarantee safe plans for returning to work, continue to work remotely.
3. Continue Communicating
When everyone started working from home, communication strategies went into high gear. Software like Slack and Monday.com became the saving graces of uniting remote teams. With some or all of your team returning to the office, don’t let the emphasis placed on communication wane. Continue to use these software plans so that employees who continue to work from home are still connected to the rest of the team. And, should offices be forced to close again, there won’t be a period of re-adjusting to using them.
4. Lead with Empathy
Both employers and employees need to lead with understanding and empathy right now. Not all employees will feel safe returning to the office. As a team, how can you make them feel comfortable? And, how can you accommodate their very real concerns? This is not a time for judgement, impatience, or apathy. For a business to succeed, all employees must feel safe, secure, and confident in their jobs. Those are the priorities as you adjust to the office.
Need Help Transitioning Yourself or Your Team Back to Work?
Visit our Covid-19 Support Hub for help transitioning back to work during the pandemic.
We help employers reboot their work environments, hire talent, and provide effective solutions to their concerns and problems. We also provide support for workers as they navigate contracts, apply for jobs, and comply with workplace expectations during Covid-19.