In early 2020, millions of workers got up every day and commuted to their offices for work. But when the pandemic started, many had to adjust to the idea of remote work. While it was a shock at first, people learned about remote computer connections and Zoom meetings. After all that time away, more bosses want their workers back at their desks. And the transition isn’t smooth in every case.
Why Returning to the Office Can Be Difficult
It may seem like returning to work after covid would be welcome for many workers. After all, it was the standard operating procedure for many years. But transitions are complex, even when a person goes back to something they knew. Some people may have anxiety about returning to an office setting after working independently. They’ve made a new routine for themselves, allowing them more personal space and comfort. There’s also the concern about flexibility. Your employees have found new ways to balance their work and family lives and might hesitate to give that up.
How To Make Going Back to the Office Positive
To overcome some resistance, employers have to make returning to the office appealing. Ensure your staff is immersed in a great culture when they’re at work. Workers need to see how in-person collaboration and socializing benefit them. When they know that they perform better together, they get rid of the “I could do this just as well at home” mindset. This is especially important for people who joined the company during the remote period. Create a training environment where the rewards of face-to-face interaction are apparent. Also, managers have to embrace the flexibility that workers value. Your team is used to the idea of commuting across the house and being able to attend to the needs of their home during their breaks. Instead of a strict 8-hour shift, consider allowing people to run out around school drop-off and pick-up hours. Some businesses use hybrid schedules, letting people decide which days they go to the office. To keep the feeling of being connected on home days, use unique zoom backgrounds with your company logo. Accommodations like these empower employees.
Listen to Your Employees’ Concerns
When managers roll out the plan for returning to the office, it’s essential to hear the staff members’ worries. Workers will need to re-evaluate childcare plans, daily schedules, and priorities. Be open to concerns people have about going back to the office regarding covid. Show people the health precautions that are in place to keep everyone safe. If possible, find ways to accommodate your workers’ needs as they arise. And quickly address any new problems, so your office is a place people feel comfortable.
Acknowledge the Needs of Different People
As you call everyone back to the building, you’ll find some eager people to return. They’ve hated being alone and have waited for the day they get back to their real desk. For them, it’s simple to make the transition easy by offering a lot of ways for them to spend time with co-workers. Then there are the people who would do anything to stay home. They’ve enjoyed days without chatter when they can focus on their tasks. Bosses should work with them to discover why they prefer home life. Is there something about the work environment that doesn’t let them be their best? See how you can create circumstances where everyone thrives.
Emphasize Boundaries Between Work and Home
During remote work, people had flexibility, but boundaries also became blurred. It can be hard to disconnect when your office is in your living room. Going back to a building that’s all about work helps with this. Make sure your staff feels the satisfaction of ending their day and leaving their work as they drive home. Knowing you’ll have a good work-life balance makes it easier to transition back to traditional workplaces.
The Future of Offices After COVID
As companies create a return to work strategy after covid, there are still a lot of unknowns. There are also a lot of opportunities. With so many ways to connect these days remotely, exploring the possibilities is essential. Maybe a hybrid office is best, and you don’t need such ample space to hold all workers at once. There might also be value in renovating the space; you have to encourage collaboration, which is why people need to be together. Anyone designing a post-pandemic office can look at the needs of parents and children to see if there is a way to make the office more kid-friendly.
Getting your team back to the office is vital to your company's future, so take care while doing it. Acknowledge the needs of the workers, and keep communication open about issues they have. That way, you can pivot and give everyone a platform to be productive. Above all, show your team their value, and everyone will be committed to combined success.