Many major corporations like Google, Amazon and Twitter have stated that remote working will remain at the core of their organizations through at least the end of the year. Some companies have discovered that they can effectively operate outside the traditional trappings of an office. Many employees have seen this work from home period blur their work/lives and they are actually working more during this period of isolation. Clearly ‘office work’ as we know it has forever changed.
Some CEOs however, believe that working remotely has more negatives that positives and while every business need to assess their own benefits, it is clear that getting people back to work has to be a priority to get the economy energized. Those CEOs urging for work from home to transition back to the office are likely identifying breakdowns in their team dynamics. Any disconnect among key team members or interdepartmental breakdowns can be devastating for a business that relies on these relationships to drive growth and innovation.
While virtual meetings can reduce the accessibility gap, it does little to offset the lack of person-to-person engagement. Social interaction at work allows team members to build relationships that are not just work related. Interaction allows for stress relief and creativity to be fostered. Isolated at home, your more charismatic employees may find it stifling.
Getting team members back to an office environment has to be done with care and thoughtfully. Establishing revised social distancing policies, updating cleaning protocols and creating safe and healthy environments is key to getting the gang together again. Working with state and local government mandates to keep all employees safe must be a focus. If the employees are going to interact regularly with customers, the training and supervision has to ensure that safely and health standards are adhered to at all times.
“Each individual has unique gifts, and talents and skills,” says John J. Murphy, a specialist in business transformation and author of Pulling Together: 10 Rules for High-Performance Teamwork. “When we bring them to the table and share them for a common purpose, it can give companies a real competitive advantage” (Middleton, 2019).
Team interaction and healthy team dynamics can have many benefits for an organization. Along with productivity, there are some other organizational advantages that team interaction provides. Others include enhancements in;
• Cultivating Genius
• Personal Growth
• Reduced burnout
• Skills Enhancement
Since humans are by definition social animals, the prolonged isolation may decrease some of your team members effectiveness. Helping them ease back to the office can bring back that spark and the connections they need to flourish.
As a business leader, don’t move to fast. Assessing the needs of your team and working a comprehensive plan that invites employees back when they are comfortable will ensure they feel secure. Some positions due to the business needs may need to come back sooner, but ultimately returning everyone to something familiar can ease stress and anxiety they have felt during this extended lock down or restricted period.
Make the return to work fun and interesting. Moving in day or theme days can help bring a little fun. Consider if this is the time to make physical changes to your work space. Adding dividers, removing clutter or even freshening the paint within the space can encourage team members to come back to a truly new experience.
Now may be the time to work with a professional to create a strategy and plan for this “back to the office” initiative. A certified business coach to help you chart the right course. ActionCOACH is the world’s largest and most successful business coaching franchise. With more than 25 years of experience, 1,000 coaches working in more than 70 countries, ActionCOACHes have more strategies, process improvement options and system to help you with any business challenge. Visit Actioncoach.com to learn more.