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How to Navigate Going Back to the Office

May 5, 2023 | Articles

As we enter into a new phase of post-COVID work, many businesses are opting to introduce a hybrid model of work, where staff work both remotely and in the office. However, how can you navigate that return to the office? What can you do to prepare your team?  

This article will discuss how to navigate the return to in-person work and how you can best prepare your staff. 

How to Prepare Your Employees 

While it may seem like your workplace is going “back to normal,” your employees may have been working remotely for some time and have gotten used to it. How can you prepare your employees for the return to the office? Here are some of our best practices. 

Make a plan. 

As companies prepare to return to the office, it’s important for managers to have a solid plan in place. Before you begin talking to your team about the return to work, it’s important to know the answers to these questions: 

  • Do you want a full return to the office, or can employees opt to have a hybrid arrangement? 
  • How many days per week will you require employees to work in person? 
  • Will they choose those days? How will they communicate when they are in the office? 
  • Have you established a clear plan for addressing any concerns or issues that may arise during the transition?

Next, communicate clearly your expectations for the return to the office. When will it begin? What was the business rationale for instituting it? What will you expect from your employees and, if the dates are not set when they will be in the office, how will they communicate their schedule? 

When should you let your employees know about the return to the office? That brings us to our next point. 

Give a lot of notice.

Give your employees ample time to prepare logistically for returning to in-person work. For example, they may have children or other family members they care for that will be disrupted by this change. This can include arranging childcare or eldercare, adjusting their schedules to accommodate school pickups or doctor’s appointments, and making transportation arrangements. 

Additionally, the return to work may mean considering things that your employees haven’t considered in some time, such as their commute, their lunch budget, clothing and other factors. Some employees may have moved during the pandemic and need to determine how they will now commute to the office. 

All of these logistical considerations take time and effort, so it’s important to give your employees as much notice as possible to allow them to prepare for the return to in-person work. Doing so can help ensure a successful and productive transition back to the office for both your employees and your company as a whole.

Listen with empathy. 

As companies begin to plan for the return to in-person work, it’s important for managers to be empathetic and understanding to their employees. Many employees have grown accustomed to working from home or may have concerns about returning to a physical workplace. Therefore, it’s crucial to approach these conversations with empathy and understanding.

One way to demonstrate empathy towards your employees is to actively listen to their concerns and be responsive to their needs. Ask your employees how they feel about the return to the office, and listen carefully to their responses. This can help build trust and foster a sense of collaboration and teamwork as you navigate the transition back to in-person work.

The Right Support For Your Transition

As businesses start planning for a return to the office, it’s important to ensure that the transition is smooth and successful for both employers and employees. At Brown Consulting Group, our experienced consultants can work with your business to develop a comprehensive plan for returning to in-person work that takes into account your unique needs and challenges.

We can help you communicate the return to work to your employees in a clear and consistent way. We can also draft any policies and procedures needed to govern your return to the office so that everyone is on the same page. 

At Brown Consulting Group, we understand that the return to the office can be a stressful and overwhelming time for both employers and employees. That’s why we’re committed to providing customized, compassionate support and guidance to help your business successfully navigate this transition.

Contact our team today to get started.  

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