After more than a year of remote working practices across the globe, expectations for how everyone works have shifted. As more and more people have adopted long-term remote working practices, many people have begun to expect more from employers in terms of flexible working and support for physical and mental health. In fact, research shows that 9 in 10 people would continue working from home. As offices begin to open back up gradually as restrictions are eased after the 19th of July, it’s difficult to imagine what it will be like to work from an office environment again. Many employees are anxious about what work life will look like once restrictions are dropped. As a manager, these anxieties and differing needs can be difficult to manage. The below top tips offer some helpful insights into how to keep your business organised as the office opens again.
1.Organise Your Time
As many of us have found, maintaining a full-time job from home while balancing family and lifestyle commitments has been a challenge throughout the past year. This is why it’s become more important than ever to organise your time and ensure you’re not working late into the evenings as this could negatively impact your mental wellbeing.
One way to organise your time is to mute all incoming notifications and emails at a certain time of day and use that time to focus on getting priority work done. By devoting the morning to work and a few hours in the afternoon to replying to emails, returning calls and messages, you’ll be much more productive and less stretched.
2. Control Your Supplies Budget
With some of your workforce at home and some in the office, it can be difficult to keep track of budget. Those workers from home may need support with purchasing necessary equipment like suitable chairs and computer screens. While those in the office may begin requesting the use of facilities like the printer and photocopier again.
It’s important to keep track of these little costs by budgeting effectively. It may be more effective to bulk buy supplies from budget friendly stores like Toner Giant. This way, you’ll be able to stay on top of expenditure and not have to worry about facing the accounts department at the end of the quarter.
3. Realign employees to your business values
With everyone being out of the office for so long, it’s easy to become misaligned with the company’s values and culture. It’s important for managers to lead by example in reaffirming your organisation’s brand and expectations.
One way to do this is to reward employees that show behaviour reflective of the company values. This type of positive reinforcement will help acclimate employees returning to the office and remove the negative stigma associated with the return.
Another way to do this is through your organisation’s marketing and HR departments. One way to encourage employees to adopt your organisation’s mindset again is to send out branded packs with some ‘return to the office’ goodies like branded water bottles, USB sticks, pens, notepads and a book with the company vision and values.
4. Don’t micromanage employees
As employees have gotten used to managing their own time while working from home over the past year, it will be difficult to step back into a more controlled environment in the office. It’s essential not to suffocate employees with too much structure but to find a happy medium for both managers and team members.
One way to do this is to allow flexitime. This means that there is a window of time where employees can choose to arrive and leave the office. For example, an employee could come in at 10am and leave an hour later in the evening, or vice versa.
5. Implement organisational tools
In order to help with a mix of home and office working, managers can implement workflow tools like Trello or Monday.com. These tools make it easy to schedule and assign tasks, set deadlines, and assign owners. That way, everyone is clear on what needs to happen, by when, and who is responsible for the outcome.
6. Enable a partially distributed workforce
As employees have gotten used to working from home, many may find the long days and early commutes particularly challenging. To ease your workforce back into this routine, employers could offer flexible working patterns where employees can work from home for a certain number of days per week.
Some organisations may even choose to allow employees to decide whether or not to work from the office or home. This all depends on the type of work carried out, alongside the values of an organisation.
Overall, returning to the office is no doubt going to be a challenge. Yet, by following the above tips for easing employees back into the flow of working from the office and by staying on top of manager responsibilities, the process will go a lot smoother.