After over a year of working from home, many offices across the country are preparing for the return to office. I know, it’s crazy just hearing those words. You’re going back to work. But after this long of not working in person, we’re not sure what to expect with the return to office.
We’re used to waking up and doing work right in our pajamas. Now we actually have to wake up early, get changed into professional clothes, and commute to work. It’s natural to be nervous about returning to the office after not working in person for so long. Some people may jump at the opportunity to return and feel as if no time has passed, but others might have a harder time adjusting. Regardless, since we’re not sure what the return to office has in store for us, it’s best to be prepared. Here are 4 ways to prepare for the return to office:
1. Have Good Communication
Good communication is key in any office, but especially during these tumultuous times. You want to make sure your employees feel comfortable speaking up about anything they are uncomfortable with.
The return to office is inevitably going to be stressful, so it’s imperative you communicate plans and any changes to the entire office. Make sure you have good communication tools so everyone can be in touch, whether they are working in person or remotely.
2. Get the Office Space Ready
It’s been a long year of no one stepping foot into the office, there’s a good chance it needs some preparation. Clean and organize your desks; the restroom should be clean and the restroom partitions in excellent condition; and snacks, coffee, and the air conditioning should be working properly.
Heat and stress is not a good combination, so prepare your office with new 3 ton AC units. Your employees will definitely look forward to walking into a clean, cool office for the start of work. You could also rearrange the workplace and improve navigation for optimal and safe COVID-19 prevention with a handy indoor mapping tool by MappedIn.
3. Be Flexible
Although you might be tempted to immediately want everyone to come back to the office, it’s important to be flexible. Someone might come into the office for the first day back and then realize they are uncomfortable with it and ask to keep working from home. It’s crucial to respect your employee’s wishes during this time and be flexible with scheduling.
Many offices are offering the option of hybrid work, meaning some employees work in office and some work from home, which may be a good option to consider.
4. Be Patient
The return back to office is probably not going to be a smooth transition. It’s been awhile since anyone has worked in person, you have to give people time to adjust back into it. At the end of the day, remember that everyone adjusts at their own pace and you have to be patient.
Prioritize mental health in the office by being supportive, offering flexible schedules, and emphasizing self-care. Have access to various mental health resources in the office, like books and apps, for employees to utilize. It is key to be patient and understanding in this difficult time.
The return to office is something we have anticipated for awhile now. After over a year of working from home, it feels surreal at even the thought of going back to working alongside your coworkers. But at the end of the day, it is important to acknowledge that everyone moves at their own pace and this might not be a smooth transition for everyone.
As much as you prepare for the return, you will never quite be ready. Follow these tips to make the transition back to the office after COVID-19 as smooth as possible.