Back to the office

The call for workers to return to the office is almost as loud as the dinner bell being rung at the end of a warm summer’s day. Except in this case, there isn’t a stampede of tiny feet running back to the house. Instead, it’s almost as though you can hear the collective groan of workers as they start the process of saying goodbye to working in the comfort of their own homes. Navigating a return to the office may be challenging, but our six tips can help ease the transition for you and your business.

Provide transparent communication

A successful return to the office depends on open and transparent communication with your team. Start by setting clear expectations, such as specific plans for returning to the office and timelines for this to occur. Make space for your team to provide feedback about this new endeavor and try to incorporate any suggestions (if they’re within reason).

Offer flexible options

After a few years of working from home, some employees may not be keen on returning to the office five days a week. If remote work doesn’t hinder your business, consider offering flexible work arrangements, such as a hybrid work model or flexible schedules. Help ease commutes by allowing your team to come in a little earlier or later than usual or allow them to work from home two to three days a week. Just be clear in your flexible policies and ensure guidelines are in place.

Encourage in-person interactions

No one wants to return to the office just to take video calls and chat through Teams or Slack...especially if they could be doing those things from the comfort of their own homes. Encourage face-to-face interaction when your team is at the office. Don’t shy away from letting your employees socialize when they’re in the office. It can help fuel innovation and retention. Ensure you create policies around response times to emails or phone calls while the team works in the office.

Institute incentives over consequences

While it may be tempting to penalize employees for not returning to the office, focus on how you can incentivize your team and offer benefits to make the return more attractive. If you’re able, consider providing commuter benefits, helping with childcare expenses, offering professional development opportunities, catering lunch on in-office days or even offering pet stipends (e.g., pet insurance, toy subscriptions, doggie daycare fees) to those with “fur” babies at home.

Consider updating the office space

The return to the office will be a big adjustment for many of your employees. While some workers thrive in an office atmosphere, others prefer the solitude a home office provides. Consider the layout of your office and how you can accommodate employees on both ends of the spectrum. Designate quiet areas for those who prefer to work in silence and create collaboration spaces for those who like to work in a more collaborative setting.

Emphasize a collaborative culture

It can be difficult—although not impossible—to build a healthy and collaborative culture when your team is fully remote. But returning to the office can allow you to rebuild and strengthen your company’s culture. Encourage teamwork within the office and schedule recurring one-on-one meetings with each of your employees. Allow them to speak candidly about their experience returning to the office. Plan team-building activities during office hours to help your employees feel more connected and engaged.

Summing it all up

Remember to be flexible and accommodating as your business transitions to working from the office again. If you’re able to allow flexible work options, do it. If you can work with a hybrid schedule, give it a shot. Use our six tips to help navigate your company’s return to the office. You’ve got this!

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