Everything was normal with the world until COVID-19 decided to wreak havoc on our lives. Like every other facet of life, the pandemic has changed ways of living and working around the world. After months of working out of homes and being in their comfort zone, employees are finally returning to offices and it might be a tad bit challenging for them to acclimatize to the office routine.
As someone who has been working out of my house for months, I might take some time to rebound to my office routine as well. Organizations have faced some pretty testing times, and hence, they must do everything in their capacity to welcome employees with great zest. Ultimately, it is up to the management of an organization how they motivate and make them feel great once they’re back to work.
After months of working remotely, employees have faced several downsides of working from home too. From lack of community feeling and teamwork. Even though technology has made connectivity and communication easy while remotely working, it has also disrupted the much needed work-life balance. Professionals across the world have been working remotely for a while now, and though coming back to their work stations might be a refreshing change.
Organizations must make sure they show employees what they were missing out on while working from home. It is absolutely essential for management to promote employee engagement and give their teams a wholesome working experience.
To make things simple and information accessible, here are a few tips and tricks to inspire your team members returning to office after work remotely for a long period of time.
Table of Contents
- 1. Communicating All The Way
- 3. Recognition Programs
- 4. Fostering Healthy Competition
- 5. Encourage Cross Functionality
- 6. Promote Workplace Flexibility
- 7. Prioritize the Mental Health Of Employees
- 8. Effectively Manage Teams
- 9. Interactive Sessions
- 10. Granting Your Team Autonomy
- 11. Updating Team Technology
- 12. Make Office A Safe & Sanitized Space
- 13. Resources Like Seminars & Workshops
1. Communicating All The Way
Whether you are working remotely or out of the office, communication is indispensable for a team. After months of staying in touch through video conferencing, group chats and what not, meeting your team in person will be a refreshing change. Interacting with your team members, telling them about your remote work experience and listening to them will be an opportunity to bond and share after a long time.
An amalgamation of the old and new communication techniques is probably a great idea to maximize output. Communication and collaboration tools help employees work efficiently and manage work smoothly, even when you’re back in the office.
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2. Communication Tools
Multi-management collaboration and communications are known to boost efficient performance, help and organize work better. Organizations can employ online management and collaboration tools to foster communication such as:
Furthermore, a group lunch or dinner event can be organized where team members can get an opportunity to bounce back to their original equation with each other. Interactive group exercises can be helpful for fostering communication and give professionals an opportunity to be expressive and vocal. An organization where employees are free to speak their mind and be brutally honest is a great environment to work and deliver in.
3. Recognition Programs
Recognition is a great way to motivate employees and boost engagement after working remotely for a long period of time. By appreciating someone we can reinforce the behaviour and help them perform better. Recognition programs help create an emotional bond between people and heightens self esteem. Awards can be given out on the basis of remote work performance motivating employees to fare well in future as well.
Awards can be given out in various forms like a gift bag, online vouchers, bonuses, and others. According to the WorkHuman Research Institute Report, 79% of the respondents believed that recognition and rewards motivated them to work harder. From a formal event to a simple email or message, recognition can come in various forms and serve its purpose of inspiring the employees to do better.
Tip: The announcement and notification section of ProofHub which is a great way to motivate employees and recognize their efforts. The information shared might not always be project-specific and can be personalized too, such as birthdays, events, and much more.
4. Fostering Healthy Competition
Another great way of bringing excitement and efficiency back to the workplace is by fostering a little healthy competition among the employees. By setting a benchmark for performances and rewarding positive performance teams encourage their members to give their best and it helps generate new ideas as well. Team building exercises are a great way to stir up some competition and help keep their spirits alive.
Fostering competition while also maintaining team unity is imperative and must be a primary concern for all teams especially where employees are returning after long. Competition in all fairness can be promoted by besting past performances and appreciating their skills.
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5. Encourage Cross Functionality
In a virtual working world, things function differently than they do out of an office space. Several times members of various teams work together on a single project or certain work is outsourced and this makes successfully executing a task easy. This kind of cross-functional governance is an amazing way for returning employees to participate proactively and maximize their potential.
When experts from diverse fields come together for a common project everyone learns something new and expands their skill set. Such a group is more creative as they can freely express their thoughts and share their vision.
Cross-functional teamwork gives employees a chance to interact with experts from various backgrounds and work cohesively with them. This is a great move to keep remote workers engaged and give work a new twist for employees returning to office after a while.
6. Promote Workplace Flexibility
A major problem returning employees face when coming back to work is the stringent rules and regulations. Workplace flexibility is an asset for employees and a way of restoring balance for employees returning to office after working from home. Organizations must be cognizant of their employee schedules and try to mitigate stress thus giving them room to perform better.
Give your employees breathers whenever possible and allow them to process the work to be done. If you give your team members time to reflect and work according to their will, the results will be way better than expected.
Flexibility encourages individuals by making them feel valued and appreciated. It also reflects well on the organization and reduces stress around workplace goals and targets. This is what organizations should be aiming for in terms of employee satisfaction and output generation.
7. Prioritize the Mental Health Of Employees
Mental health is an extremely important subject for working professionals and organizations must make sure they keep their employee mental health in check. Positive reinforcement is essential to keep work stress free and acts as a great way to reinitiate the office culture. It is not of any use if an employee is mentally stressed and he’s unable to give his best at work.
Work will be fruitful only when the team gives its hundred percent and puts their heart and soul into it. Mental health should be a prerogative in the competitive corporate framework and is quintessential for organizations to keep it in check. After all, employees are the greatest asset for an organization.
Therefore, organizations must focus greatly on mental wellness, and make sure their employees have a stress and pressure free environment to work in and they can talk about anything that concerns them with the management at all times.
8. Effectively Manage Teams
Managing a team and everyday output is not child’s play, however, a poorly operated team can never completely deliver and generate desired results. If the very foundation of a team is shaky, nothing can guarantee success and therefore, it is quintessential to have smooth management welcome employees back to work after working remotely.
Refocus your team’s energy on working cohesively and make sure everything is being managed effectively. If employees are well taken care of and valued, they are bound to give their best to the organization. Effective management is indispensable to an organization without which even the best teams would lose their edge and focus.
9. Interactive Sessions
After working remotely for a considerable time, employees need some quality time to bond with their team and rekindle their equations with them. Interactive activities, celebrations and festivities are a great way to break the ice and foster an informal, personalized interaction. Statistics show that over 86% employees cite fruitless communication and ineffective collaboration as a reason for workplace failures. This is precisely why interactive sessions and team-building exercises are significant for employees returning after months of working out of their comfort zone.
Such events can boost morale, be a fun chance to bond and foster understanding. It is of paramount importance for returning employees to bounce back to office routine and attend a work event after long.
10. Granting Your Team Autonomy
Welcoming your team back with trust and confidence is probably the best way forward. A great way to do this is by granting your team complete autonomy and trusting their decisions. This is a great way to torpedo your team’s performance and give them control that they lacked while working remotely. This is a great way to assess leadership qualities and gain the trust of employees.
Let individuals forge their own paths and work things out as per their discussion, and this way you’ll know what you’re in for. As per a survey by Effectory , autonomy within a team increases team engagement by 17%, and role clarity by 20%, which clearly shows that allowing your team to work in a wholesome and productive environment.
11. Updating Team Technology
This can be a great way to spice things up for your team is to introduce new management software that operates online and help align teams to achieve their objectives. This can be a great surprise for your team which can help them be better organized and manage their time efficiently.
Tools like ProofHub and the likes of it are great to teams to communicate and share files in one place. From efficient time tracking and inbuilt chat options to file sharing and from assigning tasks to customizing roles, ProofHub is an all purpose multi-management online platform which is famous for fostering collaboration and communication. ProofHub has been known to be indispensable for teams, making working, communicating, analyzing, and delivering accessible. It is a great way for team members to interact with clients and keep them updated.
It is essential that organizations keep up their pace with the evolution of corporate technology and use it to enhance productivity and function effectively. Online tools are a great way to work collectively and use multiple features to your advantage.
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12. Make Office A Safe & Sanitized Space
In the present scenario it is exceptionally important that your office space is a hundred percent safe and sanitized to prevent anyone from getting infected. With COVID still lingering around us, organizations need to put safety first and keep offices absolutely clean. Regularly sanitized office spaces will be the top priority when employees come back to work and hence, organizations must make sure they do not regret their decision. A safe office space is the best place to work out of right now which makes it the primary objective to keep in mind when welcoming remote employees.
13. Resources Like Seminars & Workshops
Returning employees who’ve been out of touch with the usual office rituals and hence, to reintroduce office norms and give them some food for thought organizations can arrange seminars and workshops for employees. This can help them catch up on new information and skills, which can help them try a fresh approach towards work.
Wellness seminars, soft skills workshops, skill building exercises, and others often help employees to perform better and learn new things. Keep your team members involved and engaged when they come back to work, while also building up confidence around their work.
Working from home can disrupt work-life balance and productivity but there is no denying that employees who’ve been working remotely for months have gotten the hang of it. They can find it challenging to adapt to the good old office environment and that can affect their performance. Along with employee satisfaction, their contribution to the organization is also cardinal and hence, must not be compromised.
An organization must work in cohesion where every member has a clear vision of what is exactly required of them. Each member of a team is equally important to its smooth functioning and administration.
The relationship between an employee and organization is symbiotic, both of them are vitally important for each other. With professionals returning to their turf after a long haul, it is only in the best interest of the organization to make them feel glad they’re back. It is therefore suggested that organizations employ the above-mentioned tips and tricks to warmly welcome their employees to work and it makes a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow in.