Top Hacks for Bringing Your Staff Back to the Office
It’s finally time to get your employees to take their places in the office. The pandemic has had a profound effect on our personal and professional lifestyles, and upon their return, employees may need some help acclimating to the regular 9-to-5. Strategizing ways to welcome back your staff is essential to your future success as a business and building a healthy corporate culture.
“We’ve all experienced trying times over the past 18 months,” says Judson Kleinman, founder and CEO of Corporate Essentials. “Companies had to adjust their business models in order to survive through the pandemic, but unlike having to confront a typical economic downturn, managers also had to shift to a virtual working scenario. This brought on its own challenges with technology and communication.”
Now, as companies begin to go “live,” it’s up to management to make the transition a smooth one.
A recent article on Forbes.com indicates that health and safety should be top priorities. Your staff needs to be confident in your office’s cleanliness and sanitizing processes to alleviate distractions or worries during the workday. They also need to trust that management will adopt appropriate mask and social distancing policies and safe air purification measures. Employees also want the assurance that PPE is available when necessary.
With health and safety a given, employers need to innovate new ways to welcome back their staff, and emphasize the value of in-person collaboration while easing the culture shock of reentering the workplace environment. Management will need to develop ideas that will motivate the team and help them to appreciate reconnecting with their co-workers. Consider assigning an employee committee to brainstorm fun and energizing monthly events.
Here are some ideas for inspiration:
Welcome Back Parties
After months of remote work, Zoom calls, and group chats, interacting in person will be a welcome experience. A staff lunch or dinner can provide team members the opportunity to reconnect with each other and their supervisors. It’s the perfect time to introduce post-pandemic policies and procedures, open up communication, and allow for Q&A between staff and management. Offering healthy, nourishing meals and team-building activities sprinkled with a gracious spirit of appreciation will help your team feel valued and supported.
Employee recognition is a great way to motivate team members and boost engagement after working remotely for an extended period, suggests an article at Proofhub.
Acknowledging a job well done with employee appreciation awards engages employees in friendly competition and helps create an emotional bond among the staff that builds morale and self-esteem.
Whether it’s a formal recognition event or a simple email message, acknowledgment may be expressed in various ways and serves to inspire employees. Awards can include promotional swag, loaded gift cards for the office marketplace, or a gift certificate for a manicure or massage. According to the WorkHuman Research Institute Report, 79% of survey respondents believed that recognition and rewards motivated them to work harder.
Returning employees will also be inspired by relevant seminars and workshops geared toward helping them catch up on new technologies, trends, and skills. You may also wish to offer workshops on physical health and mental wellness topics, as health-related information is at the forefront of everyone’s minds post-pandemic.
Keeping a low-stress environment in the workplace contributes to a healthy corporate culture. Offer employees a safe and pressure-free environment to air concerns with management when they arise.
Ideas for events that build and strengthen relationships and create positive workplace culture are boundless. Consider an outdoor picnic at a nearby park, a food or wine tasting, corporate outing, cooking class, or volunteer project.
Find a fun ice-breaker game like Who In The Room to kick off your re-introduction to office life with some laughter and levity. Remember, spending creative time together is beneficial, and enjoying lighthearted entertainment promotes teamwork and enhances social skills.
Have a Desk-Warming Party
Your employees may have to blow the dust off of their desks. Plan a surprise gift to welcome them back to their old work digs! A new plant, goodie basket, self-care swag, coffee cup, or snack-at-your-desk-on-us can add to the enthusiasm.
Promote communication between employees with “coffee and croissant” meetings to encourage deeper conversations. Pair up workers randomly and provide the treats while they converse for 20 minutes on the topics of their choice.
Encourage staff to meet up and relax on their own time, too! Happy hours, casual dinners, training for a 5k charity race, or watching the big game together are great examples of ways to encourage camaraderie while adding a level of fun to staff relationships.
As we move back toward a new sense of normalcy, employee engagement and corporate culture will be more essential than ever. Contact Corporate Essentials to help you execute your plans with workplace dining options, on-trend snacks, and responsibly sourced locally roasted coffees.