Top 9 Steps while world moves work from home to Office

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Top 9 Steps while world moves work from home to Office 1

Working from home to back in the office, sounds exciting, isn’t it? During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, a lot of companies have been able to quickly transition from working from the office to work from home environment. While initially there was a lot of hue & many businesses reported the struggle to adapt but on the flip side, many of the employees have embraced the flexibility of working remotely, and the leaders and managers also became used to managing remotely with flexible time.

Even after working for a very long time in work from home environment, still there are a lot of managers who believe that working from the office builds a more strong productive environment. With the gradual rise in vaccinations being done both by the government and private organizations, now companies are all set to bring back their teams to office. However, the flip side is employees and their families are still concerned about safety along with the reluctance to give up the flexibility of remote work.

Having said that, companies need to ensure that they create a safe environment and the employees are assured of their well-being will be considered and protected.

As a business consultant I have been interacting with many Human Resource professionals along with founders and CEOs and here I am summarizing the top 10 extremely critical & essential steps that employers must take to ensure a smooth transition to in-office work.

Build a new normal forgetting old ways of Work from home

First things first, employers need to create new strategies and ways to work from the office. During working from home the way employees have been managed has gone to the next level and many of the sincere employees would have upgraded their skills. Hence, old man-management strategies and business planning might not be anymore viable. Both employers and employees need to set the norms for the new normal.

Be upfront & Transparent

While employees and staff get back to the office, they need to be completely aware of the steps taken by their employer around safety. Complete knowledge sharing of safety protocols needs to be transferred to the employees. Employees with young school-going kids should be given flexibility as during working from home the routine was different and it might take some time to get back to normal.

Help them feel comfortable

All the employees need to be given the space to be comfortable while they transition from home to office. It was a quick shift from office to home and they have survived and came out of it. So similarly the coming back should be also smooth and easier and as abrupt. This will help employees to adjust to “New Normal” Communication is the key, and effective potential timelines will help people transition and adjust.

Be soft and listen more and let employees decide what works best

Coming back to the office is both a mental and physical decision and the employees need to be heard and given space to have a say in how and when the adjustment happens. It is extremely important to allow them to come up with plans and set up focus groups and should be given the power to choose what works the best for both employees and the company. The biggest learning out of 2020 was the capacity to listen more so the same needs to continue through review mechanisms where they are heard carefully around their needs and concerns.

Share data and statistics

Sharing data and statistics on the reasons and actions with employees is critically important. Studies have shown that productivity, creativity, and idea generation have gone down as a result of working from home. In this fast-moving competitive world it’s very important to keep the edge and think differently to continue upgrading else people will start to lose their jobs.

Share growth & transition plans

Well scripted and carefully prepared transition plan is the key. Understanding the requirements based on the organization’s unique needs is critical. Investing in both time and resources to get a plan which is aligned with the business, culture, team’s needs, and so on. While rolling on the plan with the employees it’s important to help them understand their growth plan along with the expectation that with time tweaks would be possible. This way there would be an alignment of vision throughout the organization.

Create a balance between organization and employee needs

Employers need to work on building employee centric and custom back-to-work as per the flexibility of the organization.The pandemic has definitely changed the way employees look at their best work-life balance. So it is important that companies look at the return to work objectively and create a balance considering the interests of both organization and employees.

Start working on a hybrid model

It is going to be humanly important that employers need to be sensitive to employees’ needs. Almost a year ago the employees were expected to work from home and be productive ensuring that the company remains profitable. Now, with the transition, few employees might not be comfortable coming back to the office. Hence employers need to be moving to a hybrid model of combining both office and remote work to ensure ease of employees.

The coming back should be optional initially

Ultimately the best thing as an employer is that we make coming back to the office optional. This will allow employees to be comfortable with onsite work to come into the office while still offering those who are not comfortable with being back in the office the option of working from home. This is a great way to build trust within the employee and managers and giving team members the choice to decide what works best for them.

To summarize, coming back to the office and work with the same passion and involvement will require a change in thought process and action and we cannot deny the fact to be empathetic to the staff.

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