After a few years of free Zoom backgrounds office options and working in pajamas, it’s time for teams to return to the office. The transition is bound to be a little chaotic since people have adjusted to working remotely, but the change shouldn’t affect productivity. Fortunately, higher-ups can ensure a smooth transition with these five tips.
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1. Working Hybrid
Many people don’t want to return to the workplace full-time and are willing to quit if employers try to force it. Rather than telling workers they have no choice, businesses should offer flexibility with hybrid working models.
In a hybrid model, employees spend part of the week at the office and part of the week at home. Depending on your business model, you may have set days for in-office work or leave it up to employees.
2. Remote Office Hours
With people working different hours, there’s less chance for team members to bond, ask questions and brainstorm. A great way to resolve this issue is remote office hours.
During remote office hours, everyone on the team is available for communication for an hour once or twice a week. For example, everyone can log into a group chat or join a video conference call. Everyone works as usual but can talk as though they’re in the same room to create a sense of camaraderie.
Managers can also have open office hours to encourage employees to ask for assistance. A request can be as simple as help with a logo background for Zoom or as complex as addressing harassment in the workplace. Provide an avenue for employees to feel heard and valued.
3. Listen To Employees
Employees are your company’s core — without their efforts, everything comes to a standstill. When higher-ups announce major changes directly affecting workers’ lives, people may feel undervalued and disrespected.
To avoid this mistake, open a forum for feedback. You can even set up a survey so employees can express their opinions anonymously.
4. Communicate Clearly and Often
Workers are bound to have questions about the transition. To avoid conflicting information, create a central hub where people can find updates. If you make changes to the plan, reach out to employees in multiple ways to ensure they know:
- Send a mass email
- Ask supervisors to inform their teams
- Schedule a site-wide virtual meeting
5. Offer Concrete Support
Employees need time to change their schedules, so announce the transition early. You can ease the stress by offering benefits for those who return:
- Provide lunches
- Offer child care subsidies or on-site child care
- Create an on-site gym or provide discounts for nearby fitness centers
- Offer commuting subsidies
The move back to the office may be challenging, but prioritizing employees’ needs and offering flexibility can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to try out-of-the-box ideas, and don’t rush the process. Just like figuring out how to upload your minimalist plain Zoom background took a while, settling back into a traditional workspace will require time. However, that understanding and support will pay off in the long run.
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