Returning To The Office Tips – Post COVID-19 & Lockdown – Réncái Group
Despite everything that is going on at the moment, I am sure that we can all agree that time is going incredibly quick. So, the realisation that we need to have a plan to return our teams to the office quite soon is becoming a higher priority as each day passes. This week’s blog is aiming to discuss some of the simple things that we can all begin to think about when it comes to returning to the office and a few of the challenges that we need to prepare for. If you’re a senior business leader or work in HR then this blog is aimed at you, so please feel free to comment with any questions or feedback.
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So, what do we need to think about?
#1 What’s your plan?
We’re all going to approach bringing our teams back into the office slightly differently. Here’s some of your options:
· Big Bang – bring everyone back into the office at the same time, at the earliest possible date.
· Phased approach – aim to gradually bring members of your team back into the office, making sure that those with health challenges and dependants are still given flexibility during the early phases.
· Phased approach (extended) – similar to the above however, those with dependants AND/OR health conditions are given the option to work remotely full time until further notice
Whatever option you chose it is critical that you communicate frequently and effectively. We’ve all got so much better at communication whilst working remotely, so don’t let it slip. Keep your employees up to speed with what your plans are, when they will be implemented and how this will impact individuals.
Furthermore, what government advice will you need to follow and how will this impact your office layout/culture? For example, social distancing.
#2 Flexible and Remote Working
My biggest fear in relation to employees returning to the office is going to be for those businesses that plan to transition to their old ways of working straight away. I can almost guarantee that this will impact individual employees performance, motivation, engagement and most worryingly employee wellbeing. So, using what you’ve learnt – what could you do?
· Flexible working – do you currently have a documented flexible working policy? Make sure that you have a clear outline of what you mean by flexible working, who’s eligible and who’s in control of managing it.
· Remote working – if your business and team have had a very positive experience of remote working then make sure you have a clear policy and process. E.g. I allow my team to work from home one day per week and we have core working hours of 10am-2pm where the team need to be available for calls, team meetings etc.
Here’s some of the challenges to expect:
· Employees will be required to commute into the office again, leading to more frustration and shorter tempers
· Those within your team who have children will need to arrange child care once again, leading to a negative financial and time impact on the individuals
· Performance, motivation and engagement will be difficult to control during the early stages – as with any change you’ll have some people who respond well and others who actively disrupt
· Particularly for those businesses that have had to furlough staff, you’ll struggle to re-find your culture and sense of togetherness
So, what can you do to minimise the risk of these challenges impacting your business?
· Again, make sure you have remote and flexible working options to support the needs of your team
· Keep up the great management and leadership that has been implemented since businesses went remote (1-1’s, check in’s, leadership communication etc)
· Review your processes – do we always need to meet face to face? What can be automated or done through technology platforms?
· Focus heavily on your culture and regularly ask for feedback from your employees
·Invest into employee wellbeing – create an employee assistance programme or provide information on psychological, physical and financial health.
· Keep developing your culture through the social initiatives that you’ve implemented in the remote environment
In summary, there’s lots of things to think about when it comes to bring your team s back to the office. However, try to focus on gradually bringing your team back, keep building on the results that you’ve achieved in the remote environment and try to pro-actively review what challenges you may anticipate.
Please get in touch directly with any questions or comment with your thoughts.
Founder & Managing Director