Return to Office Planning Tips

April 13, 2021

Many companies are contemplating and planning a return to office as vaccination efforts in the United States continue to pick up. President Biden’s new goal of 200 million vaccine shots administered in his first 100 days, includes having vaccines eligible to all adults starting April 19th. As a result, with this encouraging news, companies and states are working to chart the new normal.

The global COVID-19 pandemic prompted new ways of thinking about work this past year. Remote and flexible work emerged as the new normal. And while some companies will keep remote work going forward, most companies are now on the precipice of returning to the office in some aspect,

CBS News reported on the return to office plans of 40 Fortune 500 companies. Some companies have already started returning to workspaces with protective gear and social distancing in place. While, some other companies have laid out tentative timelines for workers to rejoin the commuting masses. Then, some companies that have chosen to wait to see where the data leads. Where does your company fall into the spectrum?

Return to Office Change Management

Change management plans will be important to prepare for a Return to Office. These change management plans may include asking for feedback. For instance, surveying your employees may be an important first step in the Return to Office process. A Return to Office specific survey may include questions like:

  • What to look forward most about going back to the office?
  • Biggest concerns about returning to the office?
  • Things you enjoy most about working from home?
  • Biggest challenges of working from home?
  • Ideal working schedules?

Surveying your employees can help identify ways your company can make a Return to Office a smoother process. If your employees are still wary about working in crowded indoor spaces, you can set up distanced workstations. Or if they are okay with a hybrid working model (combined in-person and remote teams) but are concerned about the lack of collaboration tools in the office, you can look into installing high-quality video conferencing in each meeting room.

Solicit Employee Input

One of the best ways to keep employee engagement and motivation high is by including them in the process. In the event that you have employees that are super happy to go back into the office, make sure to solicit their input. Then, consider leaning on those employees to create an exciting, fun atmosphere to engage the larger team.

Now is the time to brainstorm ideas to keep employees engaged and motivated throughout the transition process. Therefore, it is important to find key employees within your organization to help. Their input in formulating working agreements and ideate fun events, will help smooth the return to office process for their fellow employees.

Key Takeaways

Return to office is going to be stressful, exciting, and unprecedented. It’s not every day the world emerges from a global pandemic! If you take one thing away from today, it’s this: Take cues from your employees. Also, actively soliciting feedback will help you identify and alleviate the concerns you do have control over.

Employees crave a rewarding and purposeful workplace atmosphere. Organizations should evaluate what is working well for their people, what’s not resonating, and what to implement going forward. Firstly, you may want to include more options for remote work. Secondly, you may look to improve your technology systems. Lastly, you may consider adding additional benefit offerings. Employee engagement in your organization will increase with the addition of wellness programs or healthy snack delivery.

Employees appreciate seeing their employers continually improving their offerings. Companies that work to enhance the employee experience help employees to remain engaged, positive, and committed to their organizations. As a result, this helps employers better retain top talent.

As we enter the post-pandemic workforce, organizations are starting to recreate their new normal and workplace experiences. Organizations who get employees involved in the future of work will likely experience the benefit of employees who feel their voices are valued.

Give us a shout to see how we can help created added employee benefit and engagement in your return to office plans! Employee engagement is an important component of retaining top talent, whether you plan to return to the office or continue to work remotely.

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