Return to the office: How to support your team on their return

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the composition of society: the way we live, the way we travel and of particular importance to this article, the way we work. Never before has an epidemic of this size and magnitude put the world on hold in the same way COVID-19 has. It has not simply disrupted our normal way of life, but transformed it. One of the most notable transformations that has occurred involves the proportion of employees that have been working from home. However, whilst some jobs continue to require their employees to work from home, a large proportion of UK workers are beginning to work from their office once again. This article will explore tactics that managers can utilise to encourage and support their employees on their return to the office.

Employees return to the office

Whilst some may welcome the return to office life with open arms, others by contrast may be dreading it. It is always difficult returning to the office after an extensive period of time off. During these 5 months many have become accustomed to working from the comfort of their own home. Enabling people to lead a slower pace of life. This more chilled out work schedule includes later starts, to spending all day in comfy clothes (or even pyjamas for some). Due to this, many UK workers are dreading the eventual return to the office.

Additionally, some will invariably be concerned about what returning to work could mean for their health. With the virus far from gone, returning to office spaces and interacting with colleagues otherwise outside of their bubble may make employees feel nervous and anxious. Those that are not quite ready to return will require encouragement from their managers. It is essential that managers empathise and support their employees, as the return may be incredibly daunting for some.

return to the office

How to encourage employees to want to return to the office

Provide information regarding employees’ safety

Managers must create a safe space for employees to discuss any concerns they may have regarding their return to work. Employers must address personal safety issues clearly and openly. They must demonstrate to their employees that they have carefully thought out measures to guarantee their safety for their return.

Provide personal support

It is vital to remember that for many, this epidemic has evoked extreme emotions of stress, anxiety, anger and grief. Therefore managers must be sensitive and understanding, and support employees with any issues they may have. As returning to the office will not be an easy ride for all. It may also be a good idea to provide mental health support, as the detrimental effects COVID is having on a large proportion of the UK population’s mental health is well known. Additionally, managers should set aside time every week to discuss any personal or professional issues employees may be facing.

Organise a return to work plan

This plan should follow the UK government’s rules and regulations with the main goal of offering employees the maximum level of safety when they return to the office. It may prove useful providing a guide detailing the measures taken to facilitate their safe return to work. This should be clear and easy to read and could cover topics such as: what cleaning protocols have been incorporated, or what arrangements have been created to enable social distancing.

Create team building exercises

The 5 months in which many have been away from the office means some may feel like they have disconnected from their fellow employees. Team morale is incredibly important. Not just for the success of your business but also for the happiness of your workers. Organising activities in which employees can reconnect with their colleagues will prove beneficial for the whole team. It will also boost employees’ confidence regarding their return back into the workspace. This could take the form of team building activities, games or group sessions (at a safe distance of course). This will help everyone get back into the flow of working together and returning to office life.

Provide the technology so employees can work anywhere

It is likely that the transition of working from home to returning to the office will occur in phases. This is why implementing a cloud HR system such as Factorial in your office is incredibly beneficial, as it enables employees to access company data and information from their home as well as the office. Making the transitions between both easier for them to handle.

Support employees by acknowledging their good work

Show employees that the work they produced is meaningful by sharing their success stories with the rest of the team. This supports employees by showing them how much you value their input. By affirming their value to the company, it will put them at ease regarding their return to the office.

Welcome feedback

It is normal if the initial return to work does not run as smoothly as intended. It is a big change and a lot for employers to get used to after having worked from home for 5 months. But it is important managers solicit and encourage feedback. If employees feel like their voices are being heard they will engage more with their work. Requesting feedback demonstrates you are willing to listen. Also, by demonstrating that you have acted upon their suggestions it will show them you value their opinion. It will also show them that you care about making their experience as positive as possible. Which is very important when boosting morale.

return to the office

Factorial’s shift management software feature

The difficulties COVID has brought upon millions of businesses across the UK is well documented, however those businesses that survived the storm will come across additional difficulties upon return to the office. Something that many companies within the UK have been implementing involves a phased return to work. This requires people to go back to the office on alternating days, to limit the density of people in the building and therefore prohibit the spread of the virus. This may cause complications for HR managers, as it makes managing the rota difficult.

However, here at Factorial we have the answer to that. Our shift management software facilitates employees return to work by automating the scheduling process. It enables HR managers to assign shifts to employees through the system and clearly mark their days off, preventing any confusion regarding shifts and time off. It also includes hour monitoring: giving managers full control of the planning and analysis of their employees’ shifts whilst automatically detecting any conflicts between shifts. Our shift management software simplifies and streamlines the process of managing employees phased return to the office.

Through the 5 tips provided in this article and Factorials shift management software, you can easily facilitate employees’ return to the office whilst aiding HR management in the difficult task of governing their return.

✅Improve your employee management with Factorials Shift Management Software.

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