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How to Implement an Effective Return to Office Strategy

How to Implement an Effective Return to Office Strategy

Navigating new circumstances is a constant part of daily life, however change is something that most people rarely adapt to quickly or easily. When facilitating any kind of transition, the most important thing to remember is the type of impact this could have for everyone on your team and this may vary widely from person to person. Just as the shift to remote work brought about numerous concerns and complications, transitioning back to in-person/in-office work is also going to require an adjustment period, where your team members are all going to be navigating unique circumstances. Therefore, we want to share what we have seen work well for companies facilitating a successful transition back into the office at Workplace One.

Have open and transparent conversations with all levels of employees

    Just as we learned during the transition to remote work, keeping an open dialogue, and having regular conversations with your team is crucial for a successful return to work strategy. For example, some of your team members who may have been hired during the pandemic, have never had to navigate your company’s workspace routines or culture, and may have many different factors that could make this transition more difficult for them. Cultivating an open and inviting dialogue and environment so your team feels confident in coming to you with questions and concerns will lay the foundation for effective solutions that work for your organization and your team.

    Be Flexible

      Just as no two team members will have the exact same challenges or concerns, there may not be a “one size fits all” solution either. Rather than having blanket solutions, make accommodations or arrangements with people that are tailored to their individual needs. For example, if your organization has decided to enforce that individuals come into the office 4 days a week, offer some flexibility around which days are required. Perhaps your team can commit to a weekly routine where in person meetings are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and therefore individuals can choose if their remote workday falls on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.

      As having greater flexibility continues to be a growing demand in the workplace, also giving some cushion on start and stop hours in the office can be another great way to help provide this level of versatility without minimizing time spent in the office. If a team member doesn’t have in-person meetings on a certain day, allowing them to adjust their workday an hour earlier or later can help manage personal schedules that doesn’t result in lost time in the workplace. Therefore, we aren’t suggesting that flexibility should involve a total lack of structure or work hour parameters but rather that there are rules and guidelines that offer some pliancy so that each employee can mould those guidelines into a workable fit around their unique personal needs.

      Set Clear Boundaries

        The concept of having and enforcing boundaries increasingly surrounds any type of human interaction, dynamic, or relationship for a good reason. As social beings who are part of teams and organizations, we all need to understand where these lines are for what is acceptable, encouraged, and fair, and what is not. We may not always like to admit it but knowing where these are is crucial for your team’s success on both an individual and organizational level. As a company, it is important to be clear about what these guidelines and boundaries are because, as is also the case on a personal level, they are going to be unique in every organization. Assuming that your workplace rules and guidelines are “common sense” or “go without saying” is a common mistake that many management teams make and can lead to avoidable issues and conflict. Be proactive as an organization and clearly communicate your workplace policies to every team member, especially during a transition period of returning to the office. These clear parameters can then empower your team members when they understand what is expected of them and what the scope of flexibility is that they have to work within. We like to view a time like this as a critical yet exciting opportunity to establish a positive and productive workplace culture!

        Prepare Your Workspace for Effective Work and Positive Experiences

          We’ve all heard about some of the giant mistakes that some companies have already made in implementing a return to office strategy. Whether it was terrible communication with their employees, unclear parameters, or a complete unwillingness to offer even the slightest form of flexibility, as we’ve previously discussed, the shortcomings were even evident on a much more practical level. Individuals who were relieved about returning to the office were arriving back at spaces that didn’t have a workstation for them. Alternatively, those who were excited to come back to a space with the promise of an engaging and social environment came back to uninspiring and vacant offices and isolated cubicles. Therefore, ensure that your workspace is effectively and properly prepared for your team members, so that this transition and process will be a positive experience and starts off on the right tone. If you are expecting your team back into the office, the responsibility is on you and your organization to prepare your workspace so that it aligns with those parameters and goals that you’ve established.

          We understand that evaluating your team’s workspace needs and preparing the space accordingly can feel like an impossible task and let’s face it, those needs may change in the coming months as well. Furthermore, many organizations don’t always have the personal with the proper experience or capacity to do this work, and that’s where we come in. That’s the advantage of working with workplace hospitality professionals like us at Workplace One. We aren’t only able to help you navigate what workspace solution will be the best fit for you, but we’re also on-site and constantly prepared to adapt with, and take care of, the evolving needs of your team. From on site mail handling, to an engaging calendar of events, our workspaces make providing the perfect team environment a simple and stress-free process and experience.