Many employees are now beginning to return to the office following a long period of working remotely. It is easy to assume that this will be an easy transition, and that workplaces will return to pre-covid normality.
But there are a number of variables to be considered to ensure a smooth transition back to face-to-face working. Research has shown that employees have a number of concerns about returning to the workplace, and with this in mind organizations can take steps to address these and ensure a successful transition while prioritizing the wellbeing of their employees.
Whilst remote working required many employees to adapt and acquire new skills and ways of working, this prolonged absence from in-person interactions is likely to have had an impact on employees’ interpersonal skills. By recognizing this and by raising awareness and additional support, employers can help employees readjust to the office environment, avoiding some of the conflict and anxiety this may bring upon team members.
For many reasons employees may be uneasy about returning to the office or be reluctant to revert back to their old working habits after the experience of working remotely. Taking a flexible approach to working arrangements, be that physical seating in the office or working pattern/hours can promote positivity around in-person working. It can also ensure that employees feel comfortable and do not suffer any undue negative impacts from returning to the workplace.
Covid-19 has provided a unique opportunity for organizations to reassess their priorities in terms of employee care. The pandemic has emphasized, and in some places exaggerated, the impacts of work on mental health and wellbeing. Organizations can revisit standard practices and adjust policies to better meet their employees’ needs. Examples include regular wellbeing check-ins, and providing tools and learning opportunities for self-assessment and care. By taking these steps, employees are likely to feel better supported and maintain higher levels of health and wellbeing when transitioning back to the office.
The return to the office following Covid-19 will require patience and understanding by both employers and employees as everyone begins to navigate what in-person working looks like in the post-pandemic era. It provides a great opportunity for organizations to act on the changing needs of their employees and find ways to enhance the all-round package they offer to support health and wellbeing. For more insight on the challenges organizations may face during this transition, be sure to take a look at our recent LinkedIn Live conversation between Brenda Harrington and Csaba Toth!
Need help with developing a return-to-work plan for your team? We’d love to talk with you! Please contact us today to schedule a call.