Developing your organization’s back-to-work plan is not a simple task.
There are countless ways organizations are preparing to or actively bringing people back into the office. But with the pandemic still being a factor in any company’s back-to-work planning, it can be difficult to decide what’s right for an organization and its people.
Hear what four Cornerstone Resource Corner authors and thought leaders recommend as next steps for safely returning to the office:
1) Jeff Miller recommends having a contingency plan for every possibility
According to Cornerstone Chief Learning Officer and VP of Organizational Effectiveness Jeff Miller, organizational leaders need to have a contingency plan for every possibility when reopening their physical offices. They can do this by gathering as much insight as possible into their employees’ current and changing needs.
It will also be important for organizations to look at how they can redesign their offices, according to Jeff: “Gathering in a smaller conference room might feel uncomfortable. Stopping for small talk in the kitchen might, too. To help navigate this awkwardness, anticipate some of these issues, and set expectations before everyone returns through a video call.”
2) Suzanne Lucas addresses how to encourage employees to return to work
Last year, HR thought leader and expert Suzanne Lucas addressed a question that’s been top of mind for most HR professionals: What if the office reopens but employees still don’t feel comfortable returning?
This is a difficult situation to navigate, and while Suzanne recommends that employers do what they can to meet their employees’ demands and assuage their concerns, they also need to keep those lines of communication open for check-ins and reevaluation. She discusses how you can balance the empathy all people deserve with the demands of your organization and find a solution that works for everyone.
3) Mark Goldin rethinks the office space post-COVID
When designing office spaces for the post-COVID world, Cornerstone Chief Technology Officer Mark Goldin suggests that business leaders first assess how many of their employees want to stay remote.
Then, your organization can focus on transforming the physical office space into a collaborative, flexible and cost-efficient environment. As Mark explains: “The open office did save organizations money by being able to fit more employees per square foot of office space. But the good news is that, in this new world of work, they likely don’t need more office space to accommodate the workforce with more people working remotely part-time or full-time.”
4) Ira S. Wolfe suggests how to post-pandemic-proof your business
According to Ira S. Wolfe, an HR professional and thought leader in the industry, the first step in preparing a business for success post-COVID is not expecting an immediate return to normalcy. Instead, business leaders can approach this transition period as an opportunity to retrain employees and upskill company leaders. By reinvesting in their people, employers will create teams that are more equipped to handle a post-COVID reality.
Preparing for the post-COVID workplace
The vaccine roll-out is well underway, and we’re edging closer to a time where it will be safe to return to the office. As employers consider the best way to bring their employees back to work in person, there will be obstacles and challenges to figuring out your hybrid workplace. Planning for the unknowns will help businesses prepare for success in a post-COVID world.