How Should your Company Prepare your Employees to Return to the Office?

There have been months since the global pandemic sent most of the companies to work from home. 

Working remotely began as something very promising, because who wouldn’t love to change their environment while being comfortably doing home office? However, no one thought this would last so many months. 

The future seems unclear. Every day more news arrives about a vaccine approach.

Typically, vaccines require years of research, investigation, and testing before they arrive at a clinic. However, scientists are working hard to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine for the next year. 

At least 53 vaccines of different laboratories are now on trial on humans. This gives us hope of returning to the workplace safely soon, right? 

Nonetheless, most of your coworkers may have already gotten used to this working style, so going back to an office or even socializing may seem strange, and it can cause some anxiety.

Some surveys have shown that several factors scare workers to return to work.

How to prepare employees to return to the office?

Our brains react to unexpected changes. When the pandemic starts, everyone has to reshape their dining room or their bedroom as an office, with lots of creativity and adrenaline rush. But, now that employees are coming back to something familiar but with lots of changes (including social distance, using masks and gloves, hand sanitizer everywhere), that will require a lot of mental energy. 

That’s the reason why your company should start preparing a plan for the employees to make them feel safe and protected when they return to the office. 

Here are some guidelines you can implement before returning to the workplace:

Keep your focus on health, safety, and flexibility 

Remember that your teammates only will feel motivated about returning to the office if they feel safe. Ensure your teams with the following steps:

  • Apply to your workspace all the health measures indicated by the health secretary and improve the hygiene practices in every space. (This include masks, thermometers, hand sanitizers, socially distance
  • Be flexible with your workers. Some of them might be more scared about the situation if they have kids or elderly people at home. Talk with them about your plans and the safety measures, if they still don’t feel comfortable giving them more time to come back. You can also create a three-phase plan for coming back to the office:
    • Phase one: Open the office to the workers who have a business reason to be in the workspace
    • Phase two: Welcome back to those who need extra flexibility for their family, transportation, or any mental health. 
    • Phase three: Make the more vulnerable ones come back, the ones who are more propane to get sick or the ones who don’t feel safe. 

Transparency is crucial 

Communication is the key to success. 

Remain transparent in all the things that are happening in your business. Maybe the year wasn’t good for the company, and you have to make staffing cuts or reduce the budget in the event of the year. Work hard to empower your employees with the truth. That is also motivating!

Prepare employees to return to the office

Reinforce the working environment

Being away from the office may have made coworkers forget about the organizational culture of the company. So, before returning to the workplace, create a strategy to re-strengthen working relationships so that good teamwork can flow again. 

Replace video calls with meetings twice a week, add some extra activities to create confidence (respecting the health measures), make more feedback to see what is working and what could be improved. 

Remember that your workforce is the most meaningful part of your company. 

Support your people! It will continue being an unsettling time. Your team should feel confident and safe when going back to work. 

As a final advice, consider bringing physical and mental health support to your workforce. We all need a boost more than once. 

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