Have you decided to start bringing your staff back into the office? There’s no doubt that a lot has changed since you were last all together, but you’ll want to ensure as much normality is restored. This isn’t going to be easy at first but over time people will begin to adjust to the ‘new normal’.
Have a trial run
The last thing you want is to invest time and money into altering your office’s infrastructure only for your staff to feel uncomfortable and say they don’t want to return. You should have a few people (a mixture of those willing to come back with metaphorical open arms and a few who may be unsure about returning). If some people are keen to get back, make the office fit for them, and if others aren’t so sure, you shouldn’t try and force them. This could have a negative impact on their quality of work, life and mental health.
Social distancing is still essential, so depending on the size of your team and your office, you may not have the full workforce back. With this in mind, you should try and let people form ‘work bubbles’ with people they want to. To make this experience as positive as possible, instead of sitting friends miles apart, try and accommodate them so they can still interact at a safe distance. Work bubbles
will also mean they come into the office on the same days (if you can't have everyone in at the same time). You will want to create a positive atmosphere as much as you possibly can and isolating people further could make the situation worse.
It’s likely that for some people that returning to the office may make them feel uneasy. This is something as an employer you will need to be prepared for - but there are ways you can boost morale and encourage a positive mindset. Hiring a motivational speaker
is a good idea as hearing people’s personal stories can help inspire others. They can be encouraging and help shine new perspectives on work and life in general.
Have open communication
No question is a stupid question and you will want to ensure your employees know this. Make someone a point of contact
that can answer any Covid-related questions (there’s bound to be a few each day). This can provide peace of mind and make your staff feel much more comfortable with the return to the office. If someone wants to know when the door handles were last cleaned, don’t make them feel silly or paranoid, coming into the office and sharing a space with other people may be making them feel uncomfortable. Before opening your office, be sure to check government guidelines and ensure you’re following all of the correct procedures. While this is a difficult time, together as a team you can create a safe and comfortable working environment and adapt to the ‘new normal’.