7 crucial steps for a successful return to the office after COVID

With the return to normal nigh or already happening, many teams are returning to the office. This can be a logistical nightmare, so we’ve written up some tips which could smooth the process.


  1. Communicate often about plans to return to the office


Prepare people for the new work arrangement with regular communications and recognize that many people are still experiencing uncertainty and will need to adjust.


  1. Give specific time frames


Make sure people are clear when the return to office process kicks off. Giving timeframes will also alleviate some of your employees’ mental load attached to uncertainty.


  1. Consider how productivity can be different person to person


What people want in returning to the office or staying home depends on an individual’s job responsibilities as well as their style and personality. Some employees thrive in a convivial office space, while others do their best work in the serenity of their home.


Working on a synchronous schedule can improve coordination, but it can also introduce constant communications and interruptions that disrupt focus. Managers need to think about asynchronous schedules in addition to where people work.


  1. Innovate with all


Some might be quick to put the onus squarely on the manager to make the decisions, but we think this is an opportunity to practice innovation and collaboration. As a manager, give people options and guidelines to decide what works best for them.


  1. Reflect on fairness and inclusivity


Fairness should always be top of mind, and during this transition, there is a good chance concerns about favoritism will arise and that people may be left out or treated unfairly.


With promotions more often handed to those in close proximity, how does this fare for people on remote schedules? Think about your process for promotions and other areas that could hinder an equitable hybrid workplace.


  1. Build in flexibility


The pandemic is still raging and depending on where people live, vaccinations may be a long way off and outbreaks will continue. Be prepared to pivot and pivot again.


  1. Commit to ongoing evaluation and assessment


Ask employees at least quarterly about their experience so the business can respond quickly to support their ever-evolving needs. For a clear and nuanced insight, employee pulse surveys get to the crux of the issue and invite honest feedback.