I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed coming to work. Smalltalk at the coffee machine and the daily shift of scenery are among a few of the things I’ve missed dearly during lockdown. It hasn’t been the same working from home, and I can honestly tell you that being back means the world to our team.
At the same time, I haven’t missed spending 2 X 30 minutes commuting time every day. I also feel more sensitive towards loud noises, and meetings now require physical presence and more time to set up.
No two people will have the same experience of going back after lockdown. It’s a challenge I believe we should tackle head on, so that everyone feels safe, welcome and motivated when returning to the office.
The transition from sitting at the home office, to suddenly being back at the office with your colleagues, happens very fast. Some people will feel uneasy, knwoing that frequent testing, spacial requirements and vaccinations will be keywords during their return to the workplace.
In this article, we’ll be sharing a couple of key points we find useful when returning to the office. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to use these tips to make an even better work space for you and your colleagues/employees.
Turn Down Expectations
While many of us look very much forward to going back to our normal everyday routine, this also means we may be setting ourselves up for a big disapointment. Expect to be taking one step back for each two steps forward, and try to accept the fact that it will take some getting used to.
Many companies will have to settle for only being half a team most of the time, with restrictions still being part of work-life organization. This requires even more careful communication than ever before. One sick employee can quickly mean an empty office in a matter of minutes, and that’s why we recommend going about your business one day at a time, keeping expectations at a reasonable level.
Remember to Come Back as Both a Professional and Social Individual
It can be quite tempting to plan a great deal of activities right away, now that it’s finally possible to take part in a conference, plan workshops and the likes. However, don’t forget that we’re back as more than “just” employees. Many people have felt immense loneliness and been socially starved during the pandemic. Several studies point to the lockdown having had huge negative effects on job motivation.
Be careful ending up with an artificially high pace, as to make up for lost time over the year. Plan social activities with equal haste as professional activities – I’m confident it’ll have an equally good effect on productivity.
Get to Know Each Others Expectations
While you need to be careful about your own expectations, it is equally important to be mindful of your colleagues’. That’s why we recommend you making a habit out of aligning your own expectations, with those of your colleagues.
One of the founding elements of Knowie is to strengthen mutual understanding in and around the workplace, in a fun and exciting way. We do so by presenting useful and challenging topics in a fun and safe environment, so that communication will be easier, should a conflict or dillemma arise on the topic.
You can make use of those same methods in your team, performing this simple task.
You may have heard of the popular “start-stop-continue” model. You can use this model to get a better understanding of what’s going to be difficult when returning to the workplace.
Ask yourself and your colleagues these three questions, and start a conversation on what’s important to you as individuals and as a team.
- What are you most excited about not having to do, when returning to the office?
- What activities are you looking forward to the most when returning to the office?
- What new habits would you like the team to continue with when returning to the office?
These processes can also be good for teambuilding and facilitating dynamic processes, so that everyone is on the same page. Good luck and welcome back!