Are You and Your Team Ready to Return to The Office?
Justin Charlton-Jones recently hosted a free webinar on how to prepare your team to return to the office after almost 12 months of working remotely.
During the webinar Justin focused on alleviating the stress and uncertainty faced by many business owners about bringing everyone back whilst maintaining the business culture and values.
Here are a few of his tips which will help you bring your team back together:
Are You Ready?
- Making the move to bring your workforce back gives YOU the opportunity to reinvigorate the team and the business. However there could be some pitfalls on the way.
How is everyone Feeling?
- Working remotely for the last 12 months some colleagues will be looking to return and others not.
- Strike up conversations before the move and get a taste of everyone’s concerns.
- Best to over-communicate plans and changes so no-one feels left out which in turn could lead to a lack of trust and insecurities.
……. And After
- Once everyone is back run a series of 1-2-1 meetings with all team members focusing on their well being as well as health & safety. Some team members will be worried about the work / life balance now they are back.
- Maintain appraisals and performance reviews – this will give you a good opportunity to chat about how everyone has felt about working from home and the transition.
- Keeps the Channels of Communication OPEN at all times. As they say Communication is Key!
- Keep an eye out for stress / burn out in staff.
- Many now have resumed their commute and are feeling fatigued as a result – sounds strange talking about focusing on the commute time when we used to take it for granted – but funnily enough times have changed!
- Keep an eye out for abrasive attitudes between colleagues, competitive levels might be rising and some colleagues might be feeling aggrieved. Have roles and responsibilities changed over the last 12 months?
- Repetitive errors are an indicator to something is wrong.
- Think of this as everyone’s first day in the company. It will give you a great excuse to run through the company’s ethos and values as well as the ‘new’ rules and regulations of procedures in the office – and there will be many!
- Perfect timing to re-establish the team members new and existing on a face to face level – we have all been devoid of personal interaction for too long!
Your Companies Vision and Values
- Great opportunity to ensure your team are working in a way YOU want them to and re-focus on everyone’s goals and responsibilities.
- TEAM BUILD – new opportunities, new ideas, new team members – lets go.
Defining the Companies Culture
- Make sure you involve everyone – that’s what makes a team.
- A company’s value and culture only works if they reflect the inherent belief and attitude which is inherent in the whole business and obviously if its adhered to! Make this move a perfect opportunity to ensure this is happening across the business.
Bringing the Company Culture to Life
- After defining the values and culture of your company to the team you then have to bring it to life through all your communications.
- Make sure all social media posts incorporate the values as well as ensuring it is visible on all internal communications such as appraisals and reviews.
- Use it everyday to ensure its embedded into everyone’s thought pattern.
What is the Company Vision?
- You have the vision as to where you want the company to go now the team is back – ensure everyone else knows too!
- Be clear and positive and don’t assume anything – be open and keep communicating.
The Office Environment
- What does it say about you and your business and does it support your culture and vision? Does it need changing?
What is Normal?
- Pre-Covid 65% of employers didn’t offer regular working from home opportunities or if they did they only offered it to less than 10% of the workforce. This is going to change! Some of your workforce will want to continue to work from home whilst some will be eager to return and some will want a balance = Hybrid Working.
- If you are incorporating Hybrid working into your workplace then this will require a cultural shift along with new policies, contracts and practices. Ensure they are executed and communicated to all. Again Communicate then there’s no misunderstanding on either side.
Preparing for Hybrid
- Agree a strategy, define a policy and support it with guidance.
- Define your company’s way of working Hybrid style. The T&Cs could be different pending on the individuals roles and responsibilities and how many are in the team.
- Engage with the team and develop a plan that’s going to work for everyone.
- Make sure the infrastructure within the company is ready for the implications of hybrid working – this will be completely different to everyone working remotely so don’t get the two muddled up.
- Summer is looming and everyone deserves a holiday but not at the same time.
- Ask about everyone’s plans sooner rather than later so a schedule can be created ensuring the business is covered.
- Establish guidelines about rolling holiday time over.
Risk of Infection
- Face masks, screens, hand sanitisers, increased cleaning of communal area, numbers of people ‘allowed’ in meetings, flow tests etc etc. These are all aspects of our new life both at home and in the office.
- Ensure the guidelines work with your office layout and workforce – perhaps staggered return/hours could work for your teams?
- These are just a few crucial points to consider whilst preparing to bring your team back but the most important one is to communicate. No matter how big or small the decision if it’s communicated to the team then everyone is clear and feels included as well as eliminating the element of misunderstanding.
If you have any questions or need additional advice from Justin please email us via the contact page.
Good luck and make sure the return to the office is a positive move for you, your team and your business.
Visit our Events page to find out more on our upcoming Free Webinar / Workshops.