A return to regular office life is on the horizon for many organizations, which is leaving many professionals with a serious case of the Sunday Scaries. Whether your team is going to be returning to the office full time or you’re going to be adopting a hybrid model that will see staff working from home and in the office throughout the week, some sensitivity and strategy will go a long way in getting everyone on the path to productivity quickly. Here are some tips to help make that transition back to the office a smooth one for your team.
Ease into things
Whether or not your team was a tight-knit team pre-pandemic, it’s likely that sharing a physical space with others again will take some getting used to. Allocate time throughout the first few weeks back to do activities that will break the ice once again among colleagues. These can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Don’t underestimate the power of taking 5 minutes before a meeting to give everyone space to socialize.
Give a warm welcome
Setting the tone for everyone returning to the office can go a long way in easing anxiety about the big change. Many of our customers have been giving “Welcome Back” gifts to show their teams how much they’ve missed them throughout the course of the pandemic. Whether or not you choose to give a gift, hosting a kick-off event to get everybody back on the same page is highly recommended.
Emotions surrounding going back to the office are understandably mixed. While some are thrilled at the idea of water cooler talk, many are intimidated at the thought of working around their whole team again. Remember that everybody is experiencing a wide range of emotions about returning to the workplace. Meeting each of your team members where they’re at and offering some flexibility (at least at the start of the transition) seems to be a welcome practice at some of North America’s fastest growing companies.
Make safety protocols clear
Although the end is in sight, many are rightfully on edge about their health and safety. Make it clear to your team what is expected of them, and communicate what you’re doing to maintain a clean and safe work environment. Post reminders around the office, have an internal document that lists procedures, and hold space for individuals to address any questions or concerns they may have.
Strive for balance
Regardless of how excited someone may be to return to the office, the transition will take some adjusting for everyone. Be sure to encourage staff members to prioritize self care at the onset of the transition. Making them feel comfortable coming to you with any difficulties will be crucial in making them feel heard and appreciated, therefore more productive.
If you’re looking for a custom gift to welcome your employees back to the office, reach out to our team to get started!