Welcome Back: Returning to the Office After the Lockdowns

After more than a year of staying at home and working from their kitchen table, your employees are going to be back in the office in a couple of weeks. Finally! Haven’t we been waiting for this moment? Even they are excited about the prospect of seeing other people again, socializing, mingling, and having office banter. Oh, the joy of seeing the office come alive again. It’s hard to imagine what businesses had to go through and still are going through right now, but those who can come back can start the rebuilding process.

Remember It’s Not a One-size-fits-all Solution

If your company has multiple branches scattered all over the globe, remember that there are some states, cities, and countries with more stringent measures. Going back to the office may not be possible for many of your team members. Be sensitive to their feelings and situations. Customize the return plan for each office; do so in accordance with the current restrictions in that area.

Clean, Organize, Redesign, Ventilate, and Prepare

There is nothing more welcoming than a clean office. Make sure that every nook and cranny of the office is prepared for your employees’ arrival. You should also organize the entire office—from the temperature check to the sanitation area. Putting up these measures will ensure employees that the office truly is ready to welcome them back.

One other detail that most employers miss is the ventilation of these offices. To increase its ventilation, encourage employees to throw wide open the windows when there is an opportunity such as when the weather outside is warm and comforting. The best way to do this is to have custom-made Roman blinds that they can pull up and down when the weather permits.

Personalize Gifts for Employees

Make an effort to make your employees feel special. Have a personalized gift ready for them when they arrive in the office on that first day. It can be something as simple as a bag of their favorite coffee beans or how about a 2022 planner for everyone? This will be a meaningful gift because you haven’t seen each other in ages. The gift should make them feel welcome and appreciated for being there.

Create a Checklist and Company-wide Comms

Before you reopen the office, make sure to give your employees a checklist of what they need to do and what they can expect when they come back. Make sure to have a clear way to communicate these policies with your employees. You can use messaging platforms such as Slack, or you can use email, text, memos, announcements, and many other things. A Zoom meeting before the first day back to the office is also warranted.

Health and safety protocols must also guide the employees for a better back-to-work environment. Touchless devices such as automatic alcohol sprayers and automated doors will help eliminate shared touchpoints. So long as your employees can comply with these rules, your office will be a safe place for everyone.

Organize a Team-building Activity

Team-building activities are not only for those who are spending so much time together that they need to recalibrate. These are also for those who haven’t found their rhythms yet. Did you hire someone new in the past year and a half? This means there’s new blood among your employees. A team-building activity will work wonders to introduce that new employee to the rest of the team.

Offer Flexible Time and Hybrid Work Setup

But perhaps, the best thing you can offer your employees is to allow them a hybrid work setup and flexible work schedule. Many of your employees might not be comfortable yet spending too much time in the office with other people. Allow them to come in and leave as they please, provided that they give you notice and meet their deadlines.

You can, for example, draw up a schedule for your employees. Some of them may work at home on certain days of the week, while others work in the office. Those who need to interact face-to-face should follow the same schedule, while those who can work independently may do so at their own will only.

It’s not easy to go back to work at this time. There are still many who clearly and understandably are not comfortable spending time with people outside their household. However, the world can’t stop winning because of the pandemic. Even as it tried to make it stop, people should carry on with their lives. Going back to the office is a step toward a more normal life.

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