Four basic steps to create a harmonious team return to the office
As we are slowly looking for a return to the office for all medium to large companies, we need to ask ourselves what work-life would look like after an extended home office. As of today, most of the large corporations have had their complete teams working from the home office for over a year.
Are companies going to invite back their workforce as nothing happened? Can people pick up their stuff, walk back in the office, take their old desk space, and start working? Are human resources ready to have their employees back? What kind of preparation is needed? I believe before anything happens, one should ask themself: HOW do we make the return smoothly?
Has anyone heard of such preparation?
For myself, I have not heard any company talking about this. I truly hope someone is thinking and preparing a solid plan to return all their departments and their people to their offices.
I am convinced that no one can return without proper guidance on how to connect back with the team and the projects. During this long year of distance working, most people have developed their home office habits. Keep in mind that it only takes to do something 26 times to create a new pattern. At this rate, we are way beyond a new habit. Now those work habits are anchored in everyday routine.
It is urgent to develop plans and steps to welcome back all the workforce
Easing them into a new workflow to create harmony within the teams is a more proactive versus chaotic, “hope of the best” approach. Moreover, this is the perfect opportunity for a corporation to refine the way to work. Create a better workflow that management and people alike can develop together. What is that plan? Where do we start?
I see four steps:
Emotional Anxiety checkup:
In my opinion, this must be the first step. Recognizing the emotional turmoil that the team has gone through. At worst, someone may have lost close friends and family during the pandemic, and at best, someone feels lost on what to do next. My recommendation would be a workshop where people can express themself, their feelings and find solutions to comfort each other.
Regroup the work process:
For my part, redefining the workflow is a must, and everyone needs to be involved. The more the team has to say about it, the more straightforward for the management. Propose a workshop where each group can discuss what worked during the home office and what did not. The result of the workshop could be so rewarding for the team to be able to design their workflow based on their experiences.
Find agreements together on the goals and the strategies toward a common goal. These agreements could be beneficial and fulfilling for the team to connect and find solutions as well as refine the work culture.
Remotion, move forward:
Now the team is ready to start moving forward and have a clear view of how they will be working together. The team member is clear about their new position in their old environment.
Preparing for the return to the office and the workforce should be a refreshing start for everyone involved.
If not planned properly, this could be a disaster for many talented people and trustworthy companies. Do not underestimate what months of isolation and home office work have done to the human character.
Investing time and compassion in the people can only be favorable
It may seem like taking a step back, but on the contrary, it is taking action forward. The people will feel so much more at ease and will be forever grateful that the company took the time to help them re-integrate into a new workflow as it is a must for a successful future of all parties.
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