Employees have had a unique luxury as of late — working comfortably from their homes! While remote work did exist prior to the pandemic, it was only limited to a small portion of the population. Recently, however, the pandemic plunged a large chunk of the workforce into remote work scenarios.
This was a welcome shift for some, while others have had a difficult time adjusting to the challenges of this type of work. Either way, returning to the office after COVID-19 has its challenges, and employers and employees alike need to be prepared amid this new paradigm shift in workplace dynamics. Read on to learn more about some of our tips for ensuring a smooth transition:
Make Use Of New Skills
Remote work required workers to adapt and learn new skills in order to stay productive and efficient from home. Time management, daily meetings, communication — these are skills that were very necessary during quarantine but can also be very useful when coming back to the workplace. Try to incorporate daily check-ins to keep this going and to ensure you stay in sync with your co-workers.
Another crucial skill that is developed during remote work is focusing and avoiding distractions. When working from home, it is easy to get distracted from the comfort of your own couch, which is why many have developed techniques to help them stay locked in when they need to be.
Allowing employees to bring some of these skills to the workplace will help them stay sharp and block out noise and distractions. Try to encourage employees to use noise-canceling headphones when they really need to focus or try incorporating some specific time every day for employees to focus in and minimize distractions.
After all, this is what was so great about working from home, right? One of the best things about working from home is feeling comfortable with your own surroundings, but this doesn’t have to end when you go back to the office. Try to encourage employees to create a very familiar and homely workspace by bringing things from home such as organizational tools, a comfortable chair cushion, a nice cool fan, or some knick-knacks that remind you of home. The more comfortable employees are in their workspace, the more they will be able to perform their best work.
Another helpful strategy is to allow employees some short breaks to rest their minds and recuperate. When they were working from home, employees were able to take a quick breather whenever they felt overloaded. This is very helpful to keep employees motivated and not overwork and stress them when they make it back to the office.
Create A Safe And Healthy Workspace
Just because COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to be lifted does not mean that you should stop taking certain precautions. Before employees start returning to work, ensure that the building has been checked and is ready for occupancy again. Also, identify how and where workers may be exposed to COVID-19 at work and try to create a space that is open, clean, and safe.
Some methods to accomplish this include identifying the work and common areas to ensure there is enough space to give people 6 feet of personal space between their co-workers if they want it. In addition, try to replace high-touch communal items with single-use items, and also try to encourage a more spacious organization of the office using signs or decals to highlight safe distancing.
Checking the building’s ventilation is another critical step that the CDC recommends employers do as well. Consider taking steps to improve ventilation in the building, in consultation with an HVAC professional, based on local environmental conditions and ongoing community transmission rates in your area. This can be done by improving the total airflow of your building, upgrading your systems, and also making use of natural airflow.
Speak With An Independent HR Consultant
Overall, it is important to realize that this transition may not be the easiest for some employees. This makes it essential for employers to try to level with their workers and make the transition back to the office seamless by understanding the benefits and pitfalls of remote work. By using the steps we have highlighted, we hope that you can make your employee’s transition back to the office a smooth one by allowing them to incorporate some great new habits.
HR Search and Rescue is a professional HR consulting company that assists both employers and employees with common workplace issues. At HR Search & Rescue, we take pride in our ability to promote a safe and healthy work environment for employees, managers, HR directors, and executives alike. Contact us online to speak with one of our experienced HR consultants today.