Many employees are returning to work after taking time off for family, personal, holiday celebrations, or just experiencing COVID-related lockdowns. While returning to work can be exciting and refreshing, it can also be a little daunting for many. They once again need to rush to the office early in the morning, work from 9 to 5 under constant supervision, and only have limited breaks.
All of these things can stress some employees, and as their leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure a smooth transition for them. This article provides tips on how to help employees adjust to returning to work. It covers things like adapting office settings and policies, providing support during the transition period, and providing resources to help employees feel re-energized and ready to start their workday. So let’s start:
7 Practical Tips for Making Employees’ Return as Smooth as Possible
1. Make the Office Environment as Comfortable as Possible:
Creating an environment that is conducive to employees’ return is essential for a smooth transition. Here are some suggestions that can help:
- First and foremost, create a positive work culture that is rewards-based and encourages employees to succeed. This will help motivate them to come to the office every day and be productive.
- Make sure your office space is clean, organized, and bright – this will encourage reduced distractions and stress, and boost focus.
- Encourage staff to take time off when they need it, and provide flexible working hours. This will allow them to balance work and personal life in a healthy way. Do this at least for the first few weeks so they can adjust their schedule to ensure no personal chores need to be done during office hours.
- Give employees the resources and tools they need to be productive – from comfortable chairs to a well-equipped kitchenette. This will help them feel relaxed at the office and adjust quickly.
2. Help them get reacquainted with the office culture
It’s great to be returning to the office after a long break, but getting back into the groove of things can be tough. To help them get reacquainted with the office culture, have a welcome back party/event. This will help everyone to get to know one another again and establish communication channels between employees and managers.
Be clear about your expectations to ensure that everyone knows the kind of work performance you need. Above all, make sure that everyone is enjoying themselves while they’re back at work!
3. Constructively critique employees’ performance during their time working remotely
Working remotely has its own challenges, and one of them is getting too comfortable in their home environment, and their productivity suffers. Therefore, it is important to provide employees with feedback and critique during their time working remotely.
This way, they can understand the areas in which they need to improve and the tools they can use to do so. Let them know you’re available anytime they need you and help them overcome any challenges they may face after returning to the office.
4. Pay attention to the psychological impact of returning to work
It’s understandable that your employees are quite emotional upon returning to work after a long break. Here are some practical tips on how you can best support them during this transitional phase:
- Make sure you recognize their return and the hard work they’re putting in to adjust to coming back.
- Offer them the support they need in order to ease back into their day-to-day routine. This might include arranging at least one session with your company or a third-party workplace therapist.
- Show genuine appreciation for their hard work and dedication by providing generous benefits and bonuses.
5. Encourage breaks and time to decompress
As a boss, it is important to make sure that your employees have the opportunity to decompress and relax. This will help them avoid burnout, work better, and be more productive in the long run. It is also crucial to make your workplace comfortable and aesthetically pleasing so that employees feel at ease and not stressed out.
Furthermore, encourage employees to communicate with you about any issues or concerns they may have. This will help you address them promptly and effectively. Help them create a work/life balance so they can come to the office relaxed and motivated without feeling overwhelmed or guilty.
6. Set ground rules for behavior in and outside of work
It is important to have clear expectations of behavior both inside and outside of work. This way, everyone can understand the parameters of acceptable behavior and know where they stand. Employees can become too comfortable working from home that they may take the office environment casually as well.
This may result in a casual dress code, unacceptable behavior, inappropriate joking with other employees, and putting off important tasks for later. They may be able to do all this at home with zero supervision. However, for the workplace, you need to set rules to ensure this doesn’t happen at the office.
7. Encourage team bonding activities
This is one of the best ways to sharpen employees’ collaboration skills. When employees are away for a long time, they may develop hesitance in effectively communicating with each other, especially your introverted employees.
Engaging them in team-building activities will help them work together more effectively and build better teamwork skills. In addition, fun events and activities can create a positive work environment that helps employees adjust to it faster.
Let’s Welcome Your Employees to a Better Workplace!
It’s always great to have employees return to work after a break, but it’s even better when the workplace is a comfortable and pleasant environment. We’ve outlined some suggestions that can help create such an environment in this blog.
From creating a positive work-life balance to creating a healthy workplace culture, these seven practical tips will help make your employees feel at home again.