After a year of isolation due to the covid 19 pandemic and finally getting vaccines, several companies are deciding to return to their workspace.
However, returning employees to the workplace after all of these pandemic changes won’t be easy. It requires a strategic plan with visibility, adaptability, and collaboration of every team member.
The details of every employee will look different. Some might won’t feel safe until everything is controlled and will prefer to continue with remote work. But, some others will be anxious and happy for a quick return. That’s why we have created a guide to help your company to be prepared for what comes next.
It is vital that your employees feel comfortable and safe in the office to continue to feel supported by the company and increase their productivity.
Communicating and sharing information will be a top priority to allay fears and increase brand loyalty.
Take into consideration:
- Implementing health procedures
- Provide protective elements like facemasks and personal hand sanitizer
- Detailing clean methods in every office space
- Establishing social distancing marks and measures
- Rotating days in the office and working from home
- Restricting business travels for emergencies only
Employee return strategy
Start planning how and when employees will come back to work to create a controlled and organized environment.
Ideally, you should prioritize those who need to use the office space. Getting everyone back simultaneously can be overwhelming and a bit risky, especially if your company has many employees.
- A phased strategy to return to work
- A plan with high-risk categories
- A method to handle employees requesting to continue with remote work
Communications with the team
It would be best to establish a precise communication arrangement to allow your employees to know your company plans and how the strategies to return to face-to-face work are happening.
Some of the topics you can include are:
- If someone is feeling sick, stay home to protect coworkers.
- How the company will implement safety protocols daily in the workplace.
- Announce all changes for home office workers and for the ones who are coming back to the office.
- Implement a business continuity plan
Rebuild work environments
Maybe despite the distance, you have kept your team communicated with team building activities. However, many of your employees may have become unaccustomed to working with face-to-face communication.
A work environment that reflects trust and comfort will always make employees feel happy and identified with the company.
You can try some of these activities to re-integrate your peers:
- Try team-building exercises, classes, and activities to reunite the team spirit.
- Create a welcome kit with a new business swag to recreate the sense of belonging.
- Organize small virtual or face-to-face meetings to spend time with talent.
- Gather experts to organize webinars to discuss different topics such as work environment and teamwork.
It was a big challenge for most people to get used to the first few months of lockdown and working at home. Going back to work will be the same. People will need to get accustomed to working with people again.
Don’t panic, and:
- Expect delays, changes, and adjustments during the first weeks. Your team must take it day by day.
- Unexpected permissions to return to work from home.
- The experience your team will have could look quite different to every employee. Adaptation will take time.
Remember that this global situation has affected everyone in different aspects, so patience will be the key to develop a safe and adequate return for employees.
Hopefully, this guide will help you create the ideal strategy for your company. If you need more ideas for your teammates that will continue working remotely, you can also read: 3 Useful tips to make your remote team more effective.