A post-Covid-19 Workplace:
With lockdown restrictions lifted and more businesses opening back up to ‘normal’, employers are left with the task of returning back to the office. Whilst lots of employees are eager to get back to work and building social rapports again, it’s important to be sensitive to the fact that some may just not be ready yet. This may be due to the flexibility of working from home or even fears of infection.
Due to this, plenty of businesses are implementing a blended approach to working from home/in the office, lessening the 5-day work week to perhaps 3 days a week in the office.
Nevertheless, whether your employees are moving their way back into the office full-time or part-time, you need to ensure a decent adjustment plan is put in place. Here are some tips on how you can make moving back into the office a little easier for your employees:
Tip #1: Open communication
This may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but without appropriate communication, your employees may not feel as valued as they should. It’s pretty much essential for senior leadership/management to communicate in advance when they’re intending to allow employees back to work in person. Not only does this allow them to plan for potential childcare needs, appointments, they can mentally get ready for their eventual return.
The same would also apply, if like us, you are intending to have a flexi-office approach. Directly and clearly communicating with employees that they can come into the office if they’d like to, or continue working from home if that is what’s best for them will help keep everyone on the same page. Perhaps also like us at Mint Live, quite a few of your team are based elsewhere (due to employing remotely during the pandemic), you may want to open up conversations about them popping in and meeting the team if they so wish.
Tip #2: Re-Connect With the Team
It seems as though so much has changed since the first lockdown in the UK when Zoom quizzes, celebrations and interactive Slack conversations were so rife. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when all of these died off, and we slowly began to recluse back into our own lives and immediate surroundings. Perhaps it was when the nights grew colder and darker, in yet another lockdown we found ourselves a little tired of Zoom interactions unless they were for work.
As we’ve began filtering our core team back into the office, we’ve been implementing activities to boost morale and up engagement. Whether this be a surprisingly competitive indoor badminton tournament, or more recently a yoga class, it’s always good to take a step away from your desk.
Our guided yoga flow classes every Thursday have proven rather popular with our employees, and it has been a superb way to ensure we’re prioritising our staff’s wellness.
Tip #3: Managing Anxieties
Whilst things have been easing recently, and we have been able to socially interact more frequently, some people may still feel anxious to do so outside of their immediate friends and family.
Having a point of contact for your employees (be this HR or just a go-to friendly face) whom they can speak openly to about their concerns and worries and explain how you are putting measures in place to support them. Showing your employees that there is always someone there to listen to their anxieties will help them work through it, as well as building upon their trust for you as their employers.
Even something as simple as opening up a conversation on Slack, asking employees to share their tips on dealing with stress/ anxiety has worked so well for us in the past.
Tip #3: Health & Safety Measures
This goes without saying, but employee’s safety should be a top priority, always. Of course, this is even more prevalent now and taking simple measures such as:
Ensuring employees stay home if they have any symptoms, or more obviously, if they have tested positive for COVID-19.
Encourage appropriate hand-washing and sanitizing throughout the day
Disinfect shared surfaces/ commonly used objects. Avoid sharing objects where possible.
Appropriate ventilation- open windows whenever possible.
All of this allows to both ease anxieties employees may have in regards to office cleanliness, as well as simply keeping everyone healthy.
Tip #5: Have Fun!
After a long time of isolation and only meeting co-workers remotely, it can be such a welcome change of pace for those who want to re-build social connections.
Encouraging and embracing conversations at interactions at the office will also help boost morale and re-open up dialogues between each level of employee. Exchanges of ideas/ knowledge can happen far more organically in person, and you may find productivity is upped by this too.
For those of you who may feel a little nervous about re-connecting with your co-workers, just think back to the little things that used to make your day that little bit better. Small interactions like conversations over coffee, offering to help someone, someone genuinely appreciating your help/ work on that day. Put simply, positivity breeds positivity, and maintaining an optimistic attitude will usually attract others to you.
Remote work has become such a big part of our lives, of course adjusting back into office life again may be a little hard to get used to. Whilst our approach of having a flexi-office can eliminate some of the anxieties surrounding a return back to the office, it's still integral to be sensitive and supportive to your employee's needs.
Here at Mint Live, we do everything we possibly can to assure our employees are happy, safe, and ready to work- be it at home or otherwise. We value our staff's well-being and know first-hand that happy employees = happy clients.
If you're on the lookout for a team to professionally and personally take care of your customer service or admin needs, feel free to contact us here for a chat or free consultation.