As more and more people grow tired of lockdowns and working from home, many companies ponder whether to open up their offices and bring employees back. As a result, most workplaces will operate on a hybrid model, allowing for a combination of remote and in-person work arrangements.
Regardless of which type of workplace you choose, there is a good chance your small business will be opening its doors to staff and clients alike within the next few months. Here are a few tips to prepare your team to handle the transition and shift back to normal.
1. Consider the hybrid workplace.
Your employees may have grown accustomed to the comforts of working from home - such as avoiding a possibly long commute. To help your team ease back into the office, identify which tasks absolutely require a physical workspace. For example, holding morning meetings or brainstorming activities might be better accomplished via video chats. Also, flexible or rotational work shifts may reduce the strain on your wallet in setting up safety measures, limiting office space, and lowering overheads.
2. Keep an open line of communication.
It’s essential to keep your team regularly updated regarding your “back to office” strategy. The earlier they know your decision, the more mentally and physically prepared they will be to return to work. It’s advisable to adopt a phased approach. For instance, allow remote new hires to work only a few days a week initially. Then, when everyone’s comfortable, you can create a more extensive work schedule for your team while leaving room for some flexibility.
3. Make the office fun again.
Kind, simple gestures from employers can create a sense of friendliness and comfort in the workplace. For instance, order a pizza, talk to individual employees about their pandemic experiences, or organize a welcome back party to set a positive tone in the office. In the words of Michael G. Scott, “The people that you work with are, when you get down to it, your very best friends.” Focus on creating joy in work, and your team will appreciate being back in the office.
4. Give plenty of room for socialization.
The only real con of remote working could be the lack of personal space (for people with families) or the isolation for younger or single employees. Recognize that your office gives your staff two significant benefits: a) ample room and the right atmosphere conducive to productivity, and b) the opportunity to mingle and form lasting relationships with colleagues. Help your team break the ice by allocating some common time in their schedules for fun games, chats, and catching up.
5. Don’t remove all work-from-home perks.
Working from home was a pleasure for almost everybody. Whether multitasking and taking time off for personal needs (or resting while on the clock), your employees probably enjoyed a more flexible schedule than ever before. Try incorporating that flexibility into their new work schedules to offset their feeling of “loss” of freedom and autonomy. For example, modify your benefits package or offer better perks for those employees who work on the job.
Health insurance coverage is one of the most sought-after benefits by people in search of new jobs. Contact an insurance professional from NY Small Health today and learn more about how you can make your small business more attractive to job seekers and current employees.