After more than two years of working remotely,
many people are impatient to get back to the office.
Teamwork and collaboration are better incubated when people see one another often. In addition, when working remotely, the lack of clear division between work and home takes a toll on many employees’ mental health and work-life balance. Consider taking these steps to make the transition back to the office smooth and productive.
Make the office a place people want to be.
For employees who are reluctant to leave the comforts of home behind, a beautiful and functional office space can ease the transition. Attention to detail in creating an attractive entrance to the office is uplifting, and also marks the boundary between work and home. Within the office, provide spaces for collaboration, as well as spaces where people can recharge. A meditation room or library can provide the opportunity for downtime between meetings. This can help your team continue to feel rested and productive throughout the day.
Support employees’ logistical needs.
Returning to the office presents renewed logistical challenges. By supporting employees as they navigate these issues, you can reduce stress levels and reinforce a positive company culture. You may not have the resources to provide on-site childcare, but subsidizing daycare or summer camps may be within reach. Allowing flexible hours permits employees to think outside the 9-5 box, working earlier or later hours to beat traffic. To offset the high cost of gas, consider incentivizing carpooling – and if you’re planning a move, consider your new location’s proximity to public transit.
Check in with your team.
Every good leader should be in constant communication with their team. In-person team building and one-on-one check-ins will help employees feel comfortable in the office. Ask for their input, and encourage them to express their needs. By tailoring the support you provide to the needs of your workforce, you can save money and promote a culture of empathy within your organization.
Encourage health and wellness.
Any company returning to in-person operations should have health and wellness in mind, setting clear policies on infectious illnesses. Think beyond the immediate to encourage mental and physical well-being. An on-site fitness center, ideally with showers and lockers, can help employees keep fit and de-stress. Comfortable outdoor spaces can provide a much-needed break from screen time. Respect your team’s time outside of work and encourage a healthy work-life balance by keeping after-hours communications to a minimum. Taking these steps to care for your workforce can help reduce stress levels and avoid burnout.
It’s important to remember that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. By understanding your employees, their strengths, and their needs, you can work toward solutions that will help your organization thrive.