The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to temporarily close their doors and send their employees home to work remotely. However, as the vaccine rollout continues and case numbers decline, more and more businesses are reopening their offices.
For business leaders, managing the office re-entry process can be chaotically demanding yet full of opportunity. It’s a chance to show your employees that you care about their well-being, setting the tone for a respectful and fun work environment.
The “Big Resignation”
Many office workers are returning to work after months of remote work. The return to the office has been difficult for some, as they readjust to new office policies and procedures.
For leadership teams, returning to work is an opportunity to show employees that they are supportive and understanding. Additionally, it is a chance to set the tone for the rest of the year and ensure that employees feel comfortable and respected in the workplace.
The Benefits of Face-to-Face Connection
At RightWorks we have found there are a number of benefits to being face-to-face at work. First, after months of Zoom calls and working from home, many of our team were feeling the need for more human interaction. Luckily, there are plenty of benefits to getting back into the office. Face-to-face connection is essential for a few reasons:
We have team members who work from our office headquarters in Austin, TX, and others who work remotely around the country. To give everyone the chance to connect in person, we invite the remote team to Austin regularly. It has gone a long way to keep teams connected and engaged. It also improves communication because when team members have a chance to get to know each other, they tend to reach out more often. It saves time and leads to positive interaction. Our teams now can build strong bonds with each other making the work environment happier and healthier than working alone in silos.
Seeing each other in person can boost team morale. Our philanthropic division KindWorks engages in fun, team-building community service projects monthly. This allows our team members to perform service, take time away from their day-to-day activities, and catch up with each other on a personal basis. In the end, we are all more motivated in our work and are better able to pass that positive morale on in our work with clients. In addition, team members have the opportunity to brainstorm office and community service activities. This helps us ensure that everyone is heard and can have their ideas implemented companywide.
Creates Better Work/Life Balance
Now that our Austin team is fully in the office, we have incorporated Flexible Fridays when team members aren’t expected to work unless there’s a specific need. This has created the ideal balance that can’t be achieved working from home full-time or being in the office five days a week. It demonstrates that we trust team members to manage their own time and recognizes that we all need time to tend to personal obligations or just relax and decompress from the week. We have also found that structuring meetings around fun, face-to-face activities like lunch or happy hour helps boost morale.
The return to work is a chance for leadership teams to show their employees that they are supportive and understanding. Additionally, it is a chance to set the tone for the rest of the year and ensure that employees feel comfortable and respected in the workplace.