Bringing remote workers back into the office is increasingly common among employers. Whether employees are returning full-time or have hybrid arrangements, ensuring the transition is smooth is essential. Otherwise, the move back to the office could hinder productivity and harm morale.
Fortunately, getting it right isn’t as tricky as it initially seems. Here are six tips to help you transition your remote workers back into the office.
1. Make Data-Driven Decisions
A transition back to the workplace is going to divide your employees. Some may look forward to engaging with colleagues in person. Others may resist the idea of returning, particularly if remote work suits them and provides a better work-life balance.
While companies don’t technically have to justify their decision to bring workers back, having data to show why the transition is wise is helpful for securing buy-in. Additionally, using data to determine to what degree employees return – such as whether it’s full-time or hybrid – can ensure organizations are genuinely making decisions that benefit the companies and their workforce.
2. Have a Health and Safety Plan
While the height of the pandemic is long behind everyone, that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t still present. For a smooth transition back into the office, companies need a robust health and safety plan that addresses worker concerns. Without that, employees worried about their health may refuse to return to the office, even if it costs them their jobs.
3. Schedule In-Person Check-Ins
As employees return to the office, make sure managers schedule one-on-one meetings with them to check-in. These allow leaders to assess the well-being of their team as they shift back into the office. Plus, it’s an opportunity to learn about struggles impacting their productivity or efficiency now that they’re work location changed, creating opportunities to identify solutions quickly.
4. Focus on Fairness
Fairness is often critical as you transition back to the office. If you force some employees who would prefer to remain remote to return but don’t require it of others, resentment often builds. Barring situations where full-time telecommuting is a reasonable accommodation, avoid setting different rules for different employees. Additionally, ensure managers and company leaders are held to the same standards.
5. Continue Forward with Collaboration Technology
Even if employees are able to meet in person, most will continue using the collaboration technology they embraced during the pandemic. Keep these solutions available. Often, they boost efficiency when discussing non-urgent matters. Plus, they are critical if you have a hybrid workforce, ensuring employees can remain in touch regardless of their work location.
6. Move Forward Incrementally
Requiring an employee to go from full-time remote work to 100 percent back in the office without a transition period is a big ask. Just as switching to telecommuting during the pandemic was challenging, returning to the workplace will require difficult adjustments. As a result, moving forward incrementally makes the process easier, allowing employees to adapt slowly.
Ultimately, transitioning remote workers back into the office is a potentially lengthy process, and you may be met with resistance. By using the tips above, you can improve the experience significantly.
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