The new energy brought about with the start of a new month approaching really got me thinking this week. I’ve seen an increase in demand for employees returning to the workplace this month due to a number of factors including: cost-of-living crisis, social interaction, demand for more in person meetings etc. It’s an interesting turnaround from the WFH demands we’ve seen over the last few years.
As we know, returning to the workplace after any break can be difficult, even after a week’s holiday it can take time to adjust back into the swing of things. Throw in personal worries and you could have a lot of anxious employees on your hands.
Have you made specific adjustments for employees asking for a return to the office?
The last few years have affected us all differently, and there is still some uncertainty in the air around ‘what’s next’, there is likely to be mixed and varied emotions amongst employees returning to an office environment.
This is why I’ve put building relationships at the top of the agenda with my HR clients. Yes, some teams have managed to retain great working relationships virtually but when we throw in anxieties around job security in an uncertain world, cost of commuting and reliability well, those fear and anxiety emotions can soon bubble over the surface.
Now, I’m aware how simple this may sound, and it is! I’m a real advocate of going back to basics, as it’s often those steps that we can so easily skip or forget to do and often, they’re the most important.
There’s no better time than now to start focussing on company culture, especially as we’re seeing all the surveys have that as top priority for employees. Getting to know how they feel, what they expect, what they want from the workplace, that’s the goal here.
I’m talking about the simple things, book in regular meetings / catch ups, get those team members together invite them in for a team building event or lunch/coffee meet-up. Building on those relationships that perhaps may have slipped or even strengthened over working flexibly, is only going to be positive. Relationships and good communication are just sooo important, I can’t stress that enough!
Let’s not forget those people managers in our organisations too, they’ll be responsible for managing their own fears and anxieties and those of their direct reports. Managing people through uncertainty can be tricky and we’ve been here a many times over the last few years, resilience has been tested. I’ve always found bringing them together regularly, introducing some peer support networks to work really well.
We also have a great free resource on Managing through Change on our YouTube Channel, give it a catch and see what nuggets you can pick up.