Reopening the office space for your team can be tricky – especially after two years of fully remote and hybrid work. One thing is certain – adversity is what makes leaders and their organizations stronger.
However, concerns about well-being and the loss of work-life balance and flexibility have grown significantly. As a result, 78% of people demand location flexibility, and 95% want to steer away from set working hours.
With many employees perceiving remote work setup as the model they’d like to stick with, it’s no surprise that many (58%) have stated they will be on the lookout for a new role that offers more flexibility.
With that in mind, business owners are faced with a difficult situation. They need to find the golden means between better flexibility and increased productivity and collaboration.
In this article, we will have a look at 10 ways to make reopening the office space smooth, effective, and fun.
1. Define Your Goals
The first step is to think about what you want to achieve by reopening the office space. Is it increased productivity, more collaboration, or something else? Once you’ve defined your goal, go on planning the steps to achieve it.
2. Ensure Safety
The next step is to make sure that your office space is safe for employees to return to. This means ensuring that the space is clean, well-ventilated, and has adequate social distancing measures in place.
3. Communicate with Your Team
The third step is to communicate your plans with your team. Let them know what your goals are, and why you think reopening the office space will help to achieve them. Be sure to listen to their concerns, and address them openly and honestly.
4. Set Clear Guidelines about Hybrid Work
More and more people are working from home as a result of increased demand for remote jobs. However, this shift has caused some confusion about what is considered work versus personal time. You’ll need systems in place that allow you to manage your business effectively while also balancing other aspects like accounting or bookkeeping procedures.
Therefore, it’s important to set clear boundaries about hybrid work. You can’t afford to loose on productivity so it’s essential to require careful reports for daily tasks, start and finish times, and goal setting. Remember to utilize the power of technology to improve the overall quality of working spaces, for example, you could use systems for indoor navigation if you have big workspace facilities.
5. Encourage Social Interaction
When reopening the office space, enhance social interaction and ease your team members through the transition. This is something that many people miss when working from home, so it’s important to encourage it in your reopened office space.
This can be done in a number of ways, such as setting up break rooms, hosting team-building activities, or organizing social events.
6. Promote a Healthy Work/Life Balance
The next step is to promote a steady work/life balance for your employees as this is fundamental for their physical and mental state.
There are a number of ways you can do this, such as offering flextime, encouraging regular breaks, and providing support for mental health.
7. Celebrate Successes Together
Reopening the office space is a big achievement, so be sure to celebrate it with your team! This will help to boost morale and make everyone feel appreciated. Now that everyone has become used to working apart, any sense of mutual effort and achievement is like a fresh breeze of motivation and empowerment.
You can do this in a number of ways, such as throwing a party, taking the team out for lunch, or giving out small gifts.
8. Get the Team Outside for a Change of Scenery
If you’re looking for ways to promote team bonding and collaboration, then getting the team outside for a change of scenery is a great option. This can be something as simple as going for a walk, or doing an outdoor activity like playing sports or picnicking in the park.
Before the pandemic, this would sound a bit irrational and quirky, but in 2022, it would be a great team-building opportunity that will bring your employees together. Of course, if your organization consists of 20+ individuals, it may be best to split into different groups (teams). However, you as the business leader need to make sure you are present and pay attention to everyone.
9. Invest in New Office Furniture and Equipment
One way to make your office space more inviting and comfortable is to invest in new office furniture and equipment. This doesn’t have to be expensive – even small changes can make a big difference.
Although interior design may not seem like the obvious way to boost motivation and collaboration, it definitely has an effect on employees. They have this idea about the pre-pandemic office that they associate with the past. Making a few changes across the office decor can help them focus on the future.
10. Encourage Remote Workers to Take Part in Social Activities
If you have employees who are still working remotely, it’s important to encourage them to take part in social activities. This way, they won’t feel left out and will appreciate the company’s efforts to include them.
There are a number of ways you can do this, such as setting up video conference calls, holding virtual events, or even sending care packages. Also, if you have the budget, help remote employees with tickets and accommodation when the whole team is getting together. This will not only make them feel an equal part of the team, but it will also increase trust and employee retention.
If you follow these 10 tips, you’ll be on your way to a successful and safe reopening of your office space. And don’t forget, if you need more help or want to exchange ideas with experienced entrepreneurs, join the CEO Hangout Slack community today.