4 things to consider before returning to the office
Career
July 22, 2021
3
min read

4 things to consider before returning to the office

Ana Gospodinova
Ana Gospodinova
Content
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Inhaltsverzeichnis

After 16 months of working from home, going back to the office seems like a challenging task. It can also be considered a shock. 

During the mandatory home office period, we have learned to be efficient, productive and enjoy our suddenly given opportunity to obtain a work-life balance. As restrictions are being lifted, we have to learn how to get back to the office while living with pandemics.

Transitioning to office demands careful planning

At the moment, companies have to be very careful to avoid going to full speed back-to-office transition. 

Currently, employees are burned out from working too much, carrying the trauma of the global pandemic and loss of family and dear friends. It’s culminating in what experts call “Great Resignation.” Therefore, the last thing they need is rushing into the office while uncertainty is still around us.

returning to office after pandemic

A recent survey unveils that 26% of workers plan to leave their employers after the pandemic, and 72% said that pandemic caused them to rethink their skill sets. 

These findings are alarming signals for companies to do everything they can to invest in employees' overall satisfaction and carefully plan their return to offices. 

There is no golden rule on how to do it, but there are certain things that HR professionals, in agreement with top management, should consider while the transitional process is going on.

The 4 things to consider

The worst-case scenario is to do nothing. 

Companies that are still in the vacuum and waiting for the next to happen should be aware that it’s already happening. 

Those who are aware and treating the problem with urgency should know that the transition can bring feelings of stress and trepidations after months of working from home for most employees.

Management essential role in a transitional process

After top management announces its intention for a  transition from remote to office work, team leaders or senior managers must play a primary role in the process. For example, dedicate time at the end of a weekly company meeting to discuss and navigate employees towards a smoother transition.

Also, a good strategy could be to encourage employees to come to the office even before the official return date. Making them sit in their chairs and get familiar with the surroundings can enhance the adaptation process with more ease and less resistance to the almost forgotten environment.

Humor reduces anxiety 

It could be perceived as humor, but suggesting employees refresh their wardrobe will give a palpable sense of a turning new page situation. It will make them comfortable, relaxed, and finally accepting the transitional process with more ease.

Pay close attention to commuters

Further on, employees who do a lot of commuting felt significant benefits of home officing. Instead of pushing them back into the daily rush-hour commute, suggest they come to the office one or two times a week, only when they feel it’s meaningful to come.

In general, let your employees know that they can come to the office when they believe they will benefit from productiveness while meeting their colleagues (e.g., during brainstorming sessions or sprint plannings). 

Or simply when they need team atmosphere to crank their inner brilliance.

Perks and challenges

Office life has its perks and challenges.

The HR department should constantly align team leaders when seeking intelligent ways to communicate that seeing colleague, scoring free treats in the kitchen, or finding a place where you can just focus on the job-related responsibilities is a positive thing. 

returning to office after pandemic

After all, try to formulate the transitional process as a game rather than a terrifying snowball effect. For example, create and distribute an internal infographic or a short digital brochure calling it “Countdown ‘till we have fun together again,” to explain everything mentioned above. 

At last, be sure to keep your employees updated about the latest COVID-19 safety policies, making them aware that you constantly follow established safety protocols.

Conclusion

Companies who are already taking action and redesigning their processes to embrace hybrid or transit to full back-to-office mode have an advantage when investing in the current workforce and broadening their talent pool. 

If not doing so, the risk of losing employees has never been greater.

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