There’s no question that times have changed over the past two years. Remote work has become more common, the need for a hybrid office-home role has popped up in many companies, and there’s no denying that in a world where surges of a pandemic are becoming a new norm – it’s important to be open and realistic to the changes that are going to be needed for a new normal in the office.
The hybrid work model provides a balance of working in the office and at home. Given its flexibility, employees can work remotely for three days and on-site for the other two per week depending on their company policy. It also does not focus on being physically present in the office but gives more importance to productivity and outcomes.
In preparing for a return to the office, follow these seven steps to help make sure the return to office life is a safe and successful one that helps employees thrive coming back in.
Open & Frequent Communication
You don’t want to put out a single terse announcement every six weeks. A lot of anxiety can pop up in that empty air. Many employees still have uncertainty or worry and it’s good to understand that communication can help mitigate the worst of it.
Give Clear Time Frames
A plan with specific dates helps reassure employees who know what to expect from day to day and can watch the process take place. Work time tracker apps can help to manage workloads. This definitely helps with dealing with uncertainty and reassuring the employees in your company that things are going smoothly.
Redesign Office Spaces Based on Productivity Habits
Some people are most productive in a traditional cubicle setting. Some do well in an open office, while others have been clearly nailing it working from home. Keep this in mind while working out who can keep thriving with remote work versus those who do best in the office.
This may take some extra work, but creating new systems to make it work will be good for the company and employees.
Finding a good time to innovate is always hard – but things are already disrupted. Now is the time and opportunity to give managers the freedom they need to try new things and thrive.
Dealing with Fairness
There can be complaints of fairness and favoritism, especially if some people remain home versus some pulled into the office. Plan for how you are going to deal with these objections.
Also, look at how to balance remote workers versus office workers and the hybrid positions in between so everyone can remain in communication and on the same page.
Nothing ever goes according to plan, and in some places, the pandemic threat is still very real. Even with a plan, you need to be prepared to adapt and adjust again and again.
Assess Your Implementation
New needs and challenges will come up. Don’t be afraid to look at how your plan is doing, what new challenges are coming up, and how adjustments need to be made. Be open to good feedback from employees who may have the missing piece to make it all work smoothly.