If you’re one of the many businesses heading back into the office following the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably wondering what work life will be like, and how your employees will feel when they step back into the office.
After a long stretch of working from home, your staff will likely need a little time to readjust to life post-pandemic. Besides getting used to work attire once again, they may also have to transition wearing PPE or following social distancing in the office, which is an important but challenging new reality for many of us.
In addition to making your employees feel safe with elevated cleaning and safety procedures, there are plenty of other things you can do to welcome them back into a new and improved workplace environment. In this post, we’ll go over 5 ways you can upgrade your workplace environment in the interest of your employees and customers.
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1. Adopt flex-schedules
After several months working from home and tailoring their home office setups, bringing your team back in-office is bound to cause some friction, or at the very least, take some time to adjust. If your staff was able to get their work done efficiently at home, you might consider introducing flex options rather than going from WFH straight into 9-5 hours. Plus, following the COVID-19 crisis, some of your employees may have to stay home with their kids or care for family members now.
There are many approaches you can take to make flex options work for your business, including:
- Telecommuting: Working partially remotely, typically 2-3 days in-office per week.
- Condensed workweeks: Ten-hour days fit into four days, with one day off.
- Custom work hours: Employees can select their own work hours, with approval.
- Flexible vacation time: Offering unlimited paid time off rather than set vacation hours.
2. Make smart new hires
If your company was forced to reduce its workforce as a result of the pandemic, you may be looking to start hiring once again. Depending on how you communicated with your current employees, this move may or may not be well-received; layoffs can seriously damage staff morale. However, hiring talented and like-minded individuals is a surefire way to help your organization get back on its feet and motivate your employees once again.
To find the right fit for your business, follow these guidelines:
- Make sure your job posting accurately details the job duties, company culture, compensation, and perks.
- Conduct panel interviews so that existing employees can weigh in on interviewees.
- Learn how to do a background check on someone; this will verify that the candidate really is who they say they are. Also consider administering a drug test.
- Ask your staff if they have any colleagues they would like to refer to the company. If you have the means to do so, offer a referral bonus if things work out with the new hire.
3. Revamp your office design
In addition to making sure the office space is cleaner than ever, you might take this opportunity to reconfigure the space before welcoming your employees back. Check out these tips to help you design a workspace your team will be happy to return to.
- Create safe distances between desk areas; your employees will feel much safer with a physical distance between them and their nearest colleague.
- Spruce up the space with some air-purifying potted plants.
- Repaint the main office area with a calming green or blue hue to quell feelings of anxiousness.
4. Provide comfortable and quiet spaces
After a few months working from the comfort of their house, your staff members are probably going to feel a little distracted with the usual sights and sounds of the office. To help them adjust, try to create calm and quiet spaces where they can retreat too when the main office becomes too overwhelming.
A separate conference room or nook is really all you need to have in order to reinstate a sense of focus. And if you aren’t able to offer physical space, you might consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones for your staff members instead.
5. Focus on communication
Above all, make sure you prioritize communication during this adjustment period. This is an experience none of us have ever gone through, so be patient and transparent with your team! Using communication channels like internal messaging platforms, in combination with in-person check-ins can help you make sure everyone’s on the same page.
How are you feeling about returning to an in-office setup? Start up the discussion in the comments below.