For nearly two years, employees have been waiting for the day to return to ‘normal’ office work. Has that day finally come? Maybe, but probably not.
Office work will likely be different across sectors and industries and there won’t be a one size fits all return date.
Because of the constant changes in risks and regulations, companies must remain flexible in how they reshape the back to work model.
As companies look ahead to what work will look like post-pandemic, the majority are choosing between three approaches.
3 approaches to work post Covid-19
1. Full Time Return
A full return to the office or work environment will be necessary for hands-on industries such as engineering, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, etc.
2. Hybrid flexible
Many workplaces are opting for a hybrid of in-person and remote work. Employees may continue working from home and occasionally work from the office. This allows for a reduction of people in the office at a time, while maintaining the flexibility of working from home.
3. Remote with few office hours
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Other companies are continuing to remain remote. Lockdown measures have given companies the opportunity to explore remote work, and it has proven to work for many. These companies must continue to seek ways in which they can improve company culture, productivity, and technology.
For Employers, Managers, and Company Leaders: Best Practices to help Support your team
With the fast moving changes Covid-19 and post pandemic presents, management and board directors are responsible for guiding their teams into new routines.
Management can be difficult to begin with, nonetheless throughout a pandemic. Feeling the pressure? We complied some tips to help you and your teams transition:
Acknowledge that a flexible schedule is the future
With the constant changes, keeping flexibility in mind is the key to success. Flexibility includes the ability to adapt, as well as meeting the increased demand for more choice in where employees work.
Keep communication open
Due to the evolving nature of post pandemic life, keep communication open between leadership and the rest of the team. The more your employees are in the know of plans and changes, the better. Having open communication will make the process of adjusting to the new work environment a lot easier.
Keep soliciting feedback as well as listening to it. Actively listening to employee feedback, as well as acting on it boosts employee-leader relationships and benefits the company at large. Due to this complex and unique situation, receiving feedback will help you find the right solution. The transition back to work will feel different for everyone, and hearing their concerns will build a mutually supportive environment.
For Employees and Workers
Be compassionate with yourself and others
Acknowledged the discomfort. The jump back into the physical work environment will have its own hurdles. Be kind to yourself and know that the nerves, distress, confusion or frustrations you’re feeling aren’t your fault, and that everyone else is likely feeling the same. With that in mind, this is a time for us to support one another and really connect empathetically as a team.
You might feel excited to be going back to the office, that's great, but remember that others might feel differently. Ask questions and make space for those who are more anxious.
Identify your rhythms
How does your schedule change when you head back to the office? Are you going back to work everyday or using a hybrid schedule?
With two years of remote work, the thought of a morning routine might seem like a distant memory. If a commute is a part of your transition back to work, you’ll have to factor this into your schedule and the commitments you make throughout the day. Reawaken old habits such as the time you need to get up to make it to the office, meal prepping meals to save time throughout the night, or going to bed earlier.
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Going back to the office gives you a chance to separate work and home life. When you’re sitting at a makeshift desk in your kitchen or bedroom, it can be almost impossible to separate work from home. Do you want to turn off your emails at certain times? Do you prefer to communicate by Slack or video call? The hybrid model of going back to the office will complicate these preferences. It’ll take trial and error before you and the team can effectively get settled in. Think about what works best for your productivity remote and in-person, and share these findings with your manager.
Set your boundaries and reserve the right to look elsewhere
You may feel like you work better from home, you’re not comfortable coming back to the office, or perhaps your management team is refusing to listen and meet your needs. Set and respect your boundaries. If the people in charge ignore worker concerns, and questions or guidelines feel arbitrary or punitive, there are many other organizations hiring fully or largely remote positions.
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