10 Ways To Support Your Team While Returning To The Office
We have all been through a whirlwind over the past year and the transitioning phase of returning to the office will seem like a serious challenges right now. This can feel quite daunting. For others it will come naturally. Either way, we need to be mindful of each individual need at this time and support where we can. Just as we were starting to get used to the habits of working from home, it’s now time to challenge our mindsets once again and do the reverse! With that in mind, we would like to share 10 ways in which you can support your team’s return to the office.
1. Keep Your Team Motivated
It’s always important to keep the mood and enthusiasm of an office at its best. Introduce new systems that may help with workload. Invest in your team and speak with them about the benefits, and how they can keep growing. Make sure to get your team out for a welcome back lunch even! Try some new initiatives. Remember we spend a lot of our time in work, so make that time enjoyable as much as you can for your team. ‘Research shows that recognition is one of the most effective ways to motivate employees. 80 percent of employees say that recognition is a strong source of motivation, and 90 percent say that receiving recognition motivates them to work harder’.
Collaboration is one of the most productive ways of working, as you’ll gain a better understanding of a project, which can be bounced across the team to generate new ideas more frequently. Collaboration spaces are also a great place to work from as you can map out an idea while everyone is together, and have more space to move around freely. There’s nothing more invigorating than scribbling down ideas or brainstorming on a white board! Many flexible office spaces will have collaboration spaces which can be used throughout the day and break up a standard working day.
For certain team members, a return to the office will feel quite daunting and overwhelming. Be patient during this transition. Everyone will have their own individual ways of working and have a certain approach. Always support any queries on the return allowing room for questions and answers. Re-assure your team that things will return to normal soon. Remember each department of the business is completely different and will need support in different ways.
Keep in touch with your team more regularly, and aim to have weekly catch-ups. Communication is always key to a successful workflow. Let them know the action plans for each day of the week, until they are fully comfortable again with a steady routine. Inform the team what is coming up a little more in advance if possible, so that they can establish their own workflow and delegate and prioritise their own deadlines.
5. Focus On Individual Needs
Always remember that every single person on your team will have their own way of working which is perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged. No single way is the right way of working, so never discourage anything out of the ordinary. Now is the time to start thinking outside the box and moving away from the norm, when it comes to procedures around how we work. Identifying change and working alongside it, is key to a fruitful future for you and your team.
6. Build A Positive & Engaging Team
A negative environment can really impact the way a team works. If the atmosphere becomes negative, try and resolve it and nip it in the bud sooner rather than later. Always stay consistent with your priorities. You will gain the trust that you need this way and keep a positive workflow. If your team are not happy they will not engage. It is in your best interest to make sure your team are as happy as possible.
7. Check In More Frequently
Make sure your team are happy! Do more one to one catch ups. They will appreciate it in the long run. It’s always a good idea to do at least one check in a week even if it’s for 10 minutes in the morning. It is critical to have your whole team on the same page. This will then shape the business and help focus on targets or goals. Check in’s are also extremely important to show your team that they are valued and that you are keen to know their opinion on business needs.
8. Monitor New Protocols
Everyone knows that it may feel strange coming back to an office full of people. There will be a lot of change. Wearing face masks, speaking with your eyes and even meeting new staff who you have never met in person before! There will also be the hybrid work model which will be visible, with a mix of Zoom calls along with juggling face to face meetings too. What we can do to ease our overwhelmed teams is to, perhaps, allow more time for set-ups. Remember things may take longer to set up now, so give it the time it deserves.
9. Develop New Ways Of Working
Allowing for a new way of working can always feel strange. Some people may dislike any change to their routine, but change can be an excellent way to discover new things and also new ways of working more productively and saving time. Adapting to change should be done slowly and mindfully. This will encourage personal growth. We don’t want to disrupt culture, as this can impact on innovation for the future.
10. Workplace Experience
Improve your workplace experience. Make the place of work, a place where people won’t want to miss out! Create some creative aspects to working in the office. Celebrate all of the wins, even the small ones. Your team are important, so make sure to praise every single win. Try to get out of the office together at least once a month, even for a small milestone like a promotion, birthday, maternity leave etc. We spend so much of our lives in work, so make it memorable where possible.