Leadership and Moving Back to the Office Post-Pandemic
Heading out to brunch with your friends. Going on international trips with your family. Dusting off your office desk at your 9-5 job. Going back to your weekly gym sessions. I know so many people who are craving a return to life as we know it before the lockdowns and COVID-19 pandemic threatened everything we had built.
Now as we face a post-pandemic future, it’s time to start rebuilding our businesses, our community, drive economic recovery and getting our country back on track. It can be hard to know where to start, that’s why we need leaders from all walks of life to step up and help employees adapt to life after the pandemic.
For the last 18 month, with the exception of essential workers, many people have been working remotely from the comfort of their home. Working from home has many pros, but it does have some cons. Some benefits are better work-life balance, less commute stress, positive environmental impact, saving money and an increase in productivity performance. Working from home can also be a bonus for mums who don’t have to worry about childcare and leaving work to pick up their children from day care. However, working from home can lead to an increase in isolation and loneliness, home office costs and the risk of overworking.
There have been many workers who have embraced the flexibility of remote work and we have seen that some are best off working from home with regular Zoom meetings, while others thrive in an office.
The world has changed for employees and businesses, which means that leaders must also adapt to different working conditions and help employees to move back to the office after the pandemic has passed. Everyone is different, with unique talents and life events, so it’s important for leaders to understand that and become better at meeting with, managing, empowering, and overseeing their team from a distance. With the end of lockdowns on the horizons, we may see many employees who want to keep working from home and some who are keen to return to the office and get back to the drawing board.
So how can leaders be more positive about the transition from the pandemic life to moving back to the office?
- Part-time work – Introduce a transition period. Allow your employees to ease back into the fold of a 9-5 job and adapt by allowing them to work from home a couple of days a week and come into the office for the rest of the week.
- Communication – Communicate to your employees about their plans for the future. Are they coping with remote work? Or will they benefit by coming back to the office? Always keep lines of communication open.
- Create an understanding environment – employees deserve to be treated with empathy and compassion. Understand that some employees may want to keep working from home.
- Document or be open about your hours to prevent overworking – one of the dangers of remote work is overworking. Make sure your employees are sharing or even documenting their hours to maintain a good balance.
- Open door policy – Your employees are human; a great leader makes sure that they have an open-door policy.
- Always remember to focus on empathy and kindness at work and to remind everyone of the purpose of why they do what they do.
- Finally, the wonder of being back in the office is that we are social beings and connection machines. Being back and connecting face to face means greater well-being and connection. However don’t lose sight of the hybrid working model.
Don’t let another year go pass without investing in your leadership and your team – it will give you the edge for 2022 and beyond!
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