Whilst we have teams in workforce’s all over the world starting the slow and uncertain process of returning to offices, Business Owners and Boards are starting to look at the return to work policies.
What is best for the business is the key thought with many underlying concerns around:
- The workforce – Understanding how they feel about returning and what shape that should look like. Pre-pandemic work regimes or a hybrid approach split between working from home and the office?
- The Company footprint of property and reviewing what they need now.
- The impact of the pandemic on the Businesses reserves, working practices and prospects.
So as a Leader have you thought about the key issues that your team will have and how you support them collectively and as individuals? Are you preparing your plan for that return? There is no doubt that we also need to return to performance levels that meet customers’ demands head on.
Generally, whenever I speak to Leaders the one key point they raise is how well their staff have worked during the crisis, adapting at short notice and delivering what was needed for the Businesses. We should also remember a lot of people were furloughed, companies temporarily closed and some won’t re-open.
So considering the above, what is your plan and your implementation strategy?
- Who works where and when? Is a hybrid office/home approach the best of both worlds?
- What myths did the last 16 months dispel about your team’s ability to be trusted and work effectively from home?
- What is the customer contact strategy needed to get back to full operational performance?
- What are your expectations for the team?
- What will you do to re-energise the culture to succeed, and how do we learn effectively from each other?
All this needs to be looked at considering not only the Business but also the mental health perspective of your people, which right now is a huge consideration. Already we are seeing how the commute into cities is getting tougher and the impact it has. We have new staff that have never met their teammates face-to-face and may suffer from not learning by being in the office with their more experienced colleagues. We also have staff that love working from home and are more productive with a better quality of life. We absolutely should not forget those that are more stressed being at home with a busy house, limited bandwidth and a desire to see their colleagues.
So when working with Leaders now the key is to develop a plan, split that into various categories and give yourself a time limit to achieve aspects of the plan, whether that is 30 days or maybe even a quarter.
Suggested categories should be:
- How to we ensure good mental health for the whole team.
- What goals does the business need to achieve? Short, medium and potentially even longer term?
- How will the business need to adapt and change?
You may have more categories but try and limit them to between 4 and 6 max, then start to look at the situation now and what you want it to look like in 30 or 90 days time. Its key you think about the actions you will need to take to ensure momentum and check regularly against the plan to monitor progress. Make the actions SMART. Ensure you are consistent and have a fairness to the approach. Enlist some of your team to really find out how they are feeling and get ideas of how it can work best. Don’t forget as a Leader you also need to coach and support your teams development, so how will you do that?
Returning to work will be an emotional shift for all staff and for many reasons that they may not have considered at the start of the Global Pandemic, but you as a Leader need to consider all that now.
I am happy to help so get in touch if you need support as this is such an important time.