8 Tips To Reengage Employees Back Into The Workplace
Recently, remote work has shifted from an option to a necessity for many professionals. This won’t be the case forever though. When employees return to an in-person workplace environment, expect a readjustment period. There are a few practices you can implement to ensure a smooth transition back into the office.
Read on to learn what 8 business executives suggest to reengage employees back into the workplace.
Employees require three things to be fully present and engaged in their work: 1) Purpose - a sense that their work matters; 2) Connection - human connection to their co-workers, their management and stakeholders (customers and/or vendors); and 3) Clarity of success. What does winning look like (daily/weekly/monthly/yearly)? Has it changed?
Help them Outside of Work
You should make it a point to reach out to employees and find out how you can help them. It doesn't have to be how you can help them work, it could be finding out if there is anything outside work that is stressing them out that you can help with - whether it's connecting them with a service provider or granting some extra personal time to handle a problem.
Give them Flexibility
Give them flexible options to return to 'office life'. The days of 9-5 from the corporate HQ only are over. Flexible hours; working sometimes from home; or flexible offices (like coworking spaces) will become the norm. And what a great way to increase productivity then by making sure staff have the flexibility to work in the environments that work best for them.
For some employees, there may be an emotional toll that they haven't yet realized. Stay present and check in on your team when they return, have solutions and resources available for those who may need it. Finally, be understanding - everyone deals with situations differently.
So much of surviving the COVID-19 crisis has been focused around short-term goals and company pivots. As employees ease back into the workplace, leaders need to help employees shift from survival mode by reestablishing long-term goals. Not only will re-aligned goals help build positive momentum, but they may also help re-establish a foundation of safety and normalcy that we all so desperately need.
Remember the Benefits
Remote work has its benefits. For some, it means greater productivity and more flexibility. Remote work also has its downfalls. For others, it means less collaboration and more confusion. When employees return to the office it’s important to remind them of all of the benefits of working in one spot. Emphasize teamwork through team building activities. Encourage communication, both personal and professional. Lastly, give recognition and praise as often as possible. Make sure they feel welcomed, supported, and appreciated in office.
Make Sure They’re Comfortable
Employees need to feel comfortable at their workplace to fully re-engage. Before having employees back, employers should do a full deep clean of the office to ensure it is disinfected. New rules like "wash your hands when you arrive at work" and "no visitors other than employees" should be considered. In addition, other tactics like staggering work schedules, ensuring distancing between desks, and cleaning common areas multiple times a day are things employers can do to help minimize risks at the workplace.
When we finally return to our offices, the way we interact, collaborate, and associate with others will likely be different. With everyone working from home currently, the common feedback is that they miss seeing their friends and co-workers (in-person), that they have difficulty managing the additional distractions and responsibilities at home, and the constant daily struggle with staying motivated. Once we are cleared to head back into the office, I think the main concern will be making sure your teams are comfortable and confident it is safe to be back. Many will welcome the personal interactions with their teams, the lack of outside distractions to their work, and the ability to work with their leaders, focusing on what they love. People want to get back to normal, and re-engagement is the first step towards that.