If your business is anticipating, or actively planning, a return to in-office work make sure to spend some time focusing on rebuilding team cohesion. Returning to office life after working remotely or in a hybrid environment will take some adjustment. Spending time reconnecting with each other and creating opportunities for team building will help you maintain a healthy team ecosystem. 

To start, we recommend practicing compassion, offering flexibility where possible and taking time to reacquaint your team.

Communicate with Compassion

Consider surveying your team before they return to the office to learn what they want, and what concerns they may have. Starting off by listening to your team shows that you’re prioritizing their needs, and provides valuable insight into their concerns and questions. 

Employees might have questions about what a hybrid work model means for those who are in the office (e.g. do they have to pull more weight), if they’ll still have the same desk or if they have to wear real pants again.

Use that team feedback to draft your communication about returning to the office and to set expectations for everyone. Your survey will likely reveal important questions about the return-to-office protocols on preventing the spread of COVID, management expectations as your team returns to office life and what your new “normal” will look like. 

Gathering insight from your team and candidly addressing their concerns will help to minimize those first-day jitters many of them are experiencing! 

Allow for Some Flexibility

remote working options

A survey from FlexJobs found that most employees still want remote working options.

After a year and a half of remote work life, allowing your team to ease back into the office can be crucial to job satisfaction and retention.

A recent survey from FlexJobs found that most employees still want remote working options. 

  • 65% of respondents want to remain remote full time after the pandemic
  • 33% want a hybrid work arrangement (some time in office, some time from home)
  • 58% said they would look for a new job if they cannot continue working remotely 

A majority of workers are saying they want flexibility to remain; and asking for the same feedback from your team when you send out a survey can help you create the best environment for them. 

If your business can offer remote work options or hybrid work models, and your team members share this sentiment, that flexibility can be a big boost to happiness and help with retention and even overall productivity. 

Re-Introduce Yourselves

Even if your team hasn’t missed a beat while working together remotely, coming back together might feel a bit awkward. Taking small steps to help the team connect and create a friendly atmosphere can help your employees ease back in. 

  • Play some crowd-pleasing music in the morning or before meetings to loosen up the “I’m at work” feeling.
  • Have your team members wear name tags for the first few days, preventing embarrassing gaffes when you can’t for the life of you remember the name of your colleague in accounting.
  • Host low-key social opportunities to give employees time to catch up. Whether you bring in some food trucks for lunch outside or set up a happy hour on a nearby patio – allow employees to socialize in the open air, and have something to look forward to.
  • Incorporate team building into your routine. Adding an activity to kick off a meeting or as a brain break during the day can help your team have fun while rebuilding their connections. (We also recommend you pre-select groups to avoid the awkward “picking teams” experience for breakout activities.)

And if you need some help planning for returning to work and reconnecting, our friends at RechargeWork can help your team with everything from leading in a hybrid work environment to navigating difficult conversations. Want more tips for building a strong foundation with your employees? Check out our blog.

Published On: August 13, 2021Categories: Group & Business Meetings