As the fifth wave is slowly (and hopefully) coming to an end, many organisations are trying to bring teams back to the office – whether it be in a phased return strategy, split teams, flexible office days or back full-time at the office. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has shown that 45% of organisations have not yet announced a return to worksite date.
However, many Hong Kongers have discovered the benefits of working from home and might be unhappy to resume office working culture. This could impact your overall organisational culture.
Here's what HR can do to motivate the teams to come back to work at the office:
- Assess your team members' perspectives
- Create a plan for the Big Return
- Communicate the plan and stick to the plan
- Give everyone a warm welcome back
- Provide timely training
Listen to your team’s feelings, perspectives and concerns. Determine if their concerns are personal or professional and decide if it’s necessary to bring them back.
Design a step-by-step plan to implement the Big Return to the office. Make sure it is structured, efficient and includes a seamless timeline and (social distancing) policies. It’s also a good idea to address the concerns your staff have identified in the assessment. Using humour can reduce the stress related to those concerns.
Teams appreciate clear and concise communication. Highlight the importance of sticking to the plan when you communicate it to your staff. It’s important to re-establish order and a culture of transparency. Facilitate open communication and show that you are open to feedback.
Make it a positive experience for everyone – set the tone and generate excitement. Ensure the top management staff is also going to be at the office on the day of the Big Return or at least direct reporting lines if working with split teams. Remember to treat your new hires as if it was their first day, giving them a tour, setting up an in-person meeting with their manager.
Many organisations have been postponing training sessions and team building events, understandably so. Employees need training that allows them to work with agility - it’s probably the best investment you can make in order to equip your workers with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to adapt and succeed in this new corporate world, especially during a transitional period.
Are you ready to bring everyone back or do you prefer to remain with work from home? Let us know!
Here’s to organisations who make going back to the office exciting!
PS: even a quick (non-cringy) ice breaker can help loosen everyone up at the start of a meeting.