Return to Office Tips – post COVID

09 June 2021

As COVID-19 numbers decline, many companies are starting to consider how, if, and when employees will return to work. Transitioning employees back into the office is not an easy task. Many employees are hesitant to go back to work for health reasons, and others are happy with their current remote work arrangements. There is even evidence to show that many employees would rather quit than return to the office.

Whether you’re planning to have all employees return to the office or only certain employees, there are many factors to consider such as safety measures, work schedules, and office occupancy. Not to mention the impact that these factors have on company culture and employee morale. The work environment won’t look the same, and that’s okay. There are a number of ways to implement a return-to-office plan that takes care of the mental and physical health of employees as well as company culture.

Create a Return-to-Office Plan:

Whether it’s their health and safety or their new commute time, most employees will have concerns about transitioning back into the office. A return to work plan that communicates expectations and outlines health and safety measures will help address employee anxiety around the unknowns. When creating health and safety
protocols, you should consider whether you will:

  • Expect employees to sign in and out
  • Limit occupancy in meeting rooms and other shared spaces
  • Change the office layout to allow for more physical distancing
  • Offer additional sanitizing or handwashing stations
  • Implement alternating work schedules to limit the number of people in the office

The move to full-time remote work has proven it can be done successfully and you shouldn’t feel rushed to bring employees back to the office. Take your time to create a return-to-office plan that works for both you and your employees.

Keep Employees Informed:

A good communication strategy is essential to rolling out new health and safety protocols and keeping employees informed about return-to-office timelines and expectations. You should consider using different channels like virtual town halls and employee surveys to ensure two-way communication and employee inclusion and buy-in. In terms of the actual return-to-office schedule, employees should be told as far in advance as possible. This will allow time for them to make childcare arrangements, investigate transportation, etc.

Assess Progress:

Once all or some of your employees have returned to the office, you must gather feedback regularly. Conducting pulse surveys and connecting with employees in all-hands meetings are ways that you can increase transparency and assess how employees are feeling about the transition. It’s essential to provide the time and opportunities for employees to tell you if they feel safe at work, if they’re encountering issues with their commutes, and if workplace hygiene practices are being followed. There are bound to be challenges with a change this large and feedback and two-way communication is an essential part of keeping in touch with employees and making adjustments to make it a better workplace for them.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can use the Employee Portal to communicate their return to office plan, use Sincron’s scheduling module to create or edit alternating work schedules, and create employee pulse surveys to assess how employees are feeling about the transition. In addition:

      • HR managers can keep employees informed in the employee portal by posting articles and events
      • Organizations have the option of automatically tracking employee sign-in and sign-out using the scheduling module
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

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