Five Tips for Transitioning Workers Back to the Office

 

After a year of Zoom meetings and wearing pyjamas from the waist down, it may be a challenge for your employees to adjust to a return to the office. But with a return to normal on the horizon, there are steps you can take to make the transition as easy as possible for your staff.

 

Have a Plan

It is important to have a well-thought-out plan for transitioning your workers back into the office. Until you can execute this plan, you should continue to work remotely to avoid disrupting productivity and causing stress for your staff. You need to consider a timeline and may wish to return your staff to the office in phases, allowing your leadership team to ensure workers are coping with the transition and reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

A key part of your reopening plan must be having a comprehensive COVID-19 risk management strategy that meets applicable public health guidelines. This should include a cleaning regime, social distancing protocols for common spaces, and you may choose to make physical changes to your office environment such as installing plexiglass barriers.

 

Maintain Clear Communication with Staff

It is essential to communicate the details of your reopening plan to your staff well ahead of time and remember that communication is a two-way street! You should be prepared with a process to take on any feedback and address the questions and concerns of your employees about their return to the office, then incorporate any credible suggestions into your return to work plan.

 

Rebuild Workplace Morale

After being isolated from each other for months, office morale has suffered. It is also natural for some employees to be anxious about returning to the office if they, or someone they care about, has been affected by COVID-19. Your leadership team should acknowledge these concerns and the changes that have occurred because of the pandemic. To reconnect your employees, you could also consider COVID-safe social events or just re-connecting over a coffee.

 

Consider a Hybrid Model

If the productivity of some employees actually increased while they were working remotely, you may want to reconsider transitioning these employees back into the office at all. With a hybrid model, your staff can work remotely, from the office, or both.

It is also important to acknowledge that while working remotely, your staff may have adopted their own schedule that works for them. If your business allows for this, could you offer staff the opportunity to continue working flexible hours?

 

 

 

Review Your IT Needs and HR Policies

Your office space could have been empty for up to a year meaning your IT infrastructure and HR policies may be overdue for an update, so review and revise these as required before reintroducing any staff to the office. By addressing any potential issues before re-opening your office, you will be improving efficiency and reducing stress for your employees. Remember, if you have recruited any new staff during the work-from-home period, they will need to undertake an office induction or onboarding.