After more than a year of remote work, companies all over the world are preparing to bring their employees back into the workplace. While for some, this might be the change they have been looking forward to since the pandemic began, others might be more anxious about leaving their home office behind.
Around 66% of workers are worried about their safety and health when returning to the office, a survey says, with the percentage rising for people of color and Gen Z employees (under age 25). As an employer, it is your responsibility to make your employees feel comfortable and at ease, so that the transition back into the workplace will be smooth and unproblematic. Here are 10 things to keep in mind when preparing your company for the move back into the office.
10 Tips – transition from remote to office work
1. Allow your employees to make themselves at home & get comfortable
Working from home increases comfort and is one of the main reasons why employees would choose to work remotely rather than from the office. The coffee maker 2 steps away, the dog on your lap, working in sweats or sitting on the balcony are just a few benefits that some people will not want to miss out on. By giving your employees space to personalize their desk, request specific IT equipment, or allowing them to bring individual items like a blanket or photo, they will quickly enjoy office life again.
2. Be transparent and maintain high communication with employees on all levels
Communication is always key. It can be tempting to think that, after everyone has worked from home for more than a year, once employees return to the office, everyone is on the same page. This however is often not the case. By keeping a high level of communication and transparency, even those not returning to the office just yet will be included in the transition and not miss a thing. In addition, be transparent about hygiene measures taken to keep the virus at bay and have clear and accessible safety protocols so that all feel safe enough to return to the workplace.
3. Create quiet spaces for your employees
One of the biggest differences between remote and office work is the missing colleagues and office banter. At home, most employees work on their own or in isolation, which for some increases productivity. While it can be great to get back into the office and be surrounded by colleagues and friends, make sure that employees have a space to pull back from the crowds. This way, you allow employees to find a great middle ground between remote and office work benefits and encourage them to spend their time in the workplace.
4. Give your employees enough time to adjust back to office life
The jump from office to remote back to office has been quite a transition and takes the toll out of every employee and employer. While some might have been able to adjust quickly to a remote work day, others might have had much more issues with the transition. To make your employees feel welcomed back into the office and less stressed than they might have been the first time around, be sure to give them enough time to adjust to a life in the office. These transitions are never easy and shouldn’t be hastened – give all parties involved time and your office culture will be back in no time.
5. Let them have a say in what works best for them & listen to their input
If working from home has taught us one thing, it is that communication is essential to any job. No matter what form it may take – meetings, phone or video calls, emails or chats – give your employee a space to be heard. This upcoming transition won’t be easy and is best accomplished when all parties involved work together. So give your employees a space to be heard where they can usher their ideas, requests and wishes to ensure a smooth transition that reflects their wants and needs.
6. Stay flexible and work to achieve alignment throughout the whole company – there is no “one fits all” transition plan!
With the pandemic not yet completely gone in 2021, our daily lives are still filled with uncertainty – this also includes the workforce. By aligning on certain principles and guidelines, you ensure a smooth and fair transition for all employees and at the same time give them some orientation to plan their move back to the office. Be flexible with these guidelines – every company is unique, and so are its employees. Make sure that your transition reflects that. Invest time and resources to create this plan and be prepared to make small changes.
7. Balance company needs with employee needs
This transition is hard and strenuous for all parties involved – both the employer and the employees. Make sure to include all needs into your transition plan, and find a balance between the company’s goals and the people’s needs and wants. Getting everyone on board and promoting fairness is crucial to this phase – by not doing so, you might be at risk of losing employees or harming the company’s culture.
8. Consider a hybrid model!
This transition can be tough on all stakeholders. The world of work isn’t the same it was 18 months ago – a lot of things have changed. Make sure to include all possibilities and, by considering a hybrid model, be sensitive to your employees’ needs and wants. A survey shows that nearly half of its respondents (48%) would prefer a hybrid model – splitting their days between the workplace and the home office. We asked around ourselves – 70% would rather have a hybrid model than work from home all the time. After all, it is your employees that are the reason for your company’s success – so make sure that they feel at ease.
9. Make returning to the office optional
Last, but not least, consider making the return to the office optional. A company’s most valuable resources are its employees. By giving them this flexibility, you create trust between you and them and give them the autonomy to make their own decisions, based on what works best for them. After all, it is them that make up your company’s success – so make sure that they have a say in this transition as well.
10. Use HeavenHR!
In a transition with employees working from all over the world, employee management can be tricky. Our cloud-based SaaS enables you to carry out necessary administrative tasks quicker and more efficiently – no matter where you are working from. With tools like transparent and efficient digital time tracking, professional and well-structured on- and off-boarding and personnel scheduling made easy, HeavenHR is the perfect solution for your transition from remote working to the office and any other working day. Since the platform is entirely cloud-based, employees can add their own information, even if they are new joiners working from home. Never lose track of your company’s employees – no matter where you are working from – with HeavenHR. Sign up for a free trial period now. Register and start your demo version right away.
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