Returning Back to the Office Post-Lockdown
For many of us 2020 has been a struggle, with our spare rooms and dining tables becoming our new office spaces, and zoom being our only form of interaction, transcending from a lively office environment to your own space can be difficult to adapt too. As we get used to this new way of living and with lockdown restrictions lifting, going back into a lively office environment can be a huge transition for some.
Helping your employees to transition back into the workplace is just as important as setting up working from home, this is why we have shared our top 10 tips on welcoming everyone back to the office.
Keep Your Employees Safe
First and foremost is to welcome your employees back to a safe atmosphere. Although the R rate is on it’s way down and a number of people are returning to work, your employees need to be made aware that their health is your number one priority. Supply your team with the appropriate PPE, rethink and reconfigure physical work spaces, increase cleaning and allow staff access to disinfectant to use in their work areas when needed. When meetings are held be sure to implement social distancing regulations, to keep your employees as safe as possible.
Recognise and Praise your Team
Celebrate the success of your team, it’s important to show appreciation and understanding for the difficulties that your staff will have faced during a global pandemic. To help boost confidence amongst your staff and keep them motivated, think about showcasing achievements, encourage cross-functional collaboration and create a positive and inspiring vision of the future.
If Possible – Maintain Remote Working
If your staff can continue to work from home then they should continue to do so for the foreseeable future. If this isn’t an option could your business use the Government’s furlough scheme? In relation to the first tip, your staff must feel as comfortable as possible in returning to work, for those that are shielding or need to shield on behalf of someone else if possible it may be best to keep them working remotely.
Before coronavirus you may have had strict shift schedules in place but as lockdown has proved not everyone can keep the 9-5 work balance therefore you may have given your team that little bit of flexibility to help balance their lockdown life. Some may have had other priorities such as children, other people to care for and some of your staff may be more productive at different times of the day. If you feel as though you have got more out of your employees by offering flexible working hours, then why not continue to do so post-COVID?
It’s important to remember that returning back to the office after lockdown might be just as challenging as working from home for some employees. The new normal is spending time at home and despite the nation being desperate for normality to return, it doesn’t mean returning to work for some will be easy. It’s important to understand that some employees may be fearful of the risks, they may still have caring responsibilities or be shielding themselves due to their own health conditions.
It’s vital that as an employer you take time to reflect. There is no doubt a global pandemic has hit businesses hard but in times like these, there are some positives too! Take time to reflect on how your business and employees have been positively impacted by lockdown for example;
- Were you impressed by how your team thought of creative new ways of working?
- Did you see a lot more team spirit and people looking out for each other?
- Were you impressed at employees’ productiveness while working from home?
It’s vital as an employer to reflect on the victories your business and staff have overcome in the past year. Taking this time to reflect can help to grow your business in the long run.
With the above tips being said, it’s time to treat this time of return as the celebration it really is. No matter what you do to welcome them back, make sure your staff knows just how essential they really are.