Lebanon will soon start opening up, and life will go back to ‘normal’. Widespread office closures were deemed integral to stop the spread of the virus across the globe. Yet, the adjustment to remote working brought on many challenges for companies and team members alike.
Some offices have already opened for business, and teams are taking shifts until the full lockdown is lifted. For team members, the thought of going back to the office may be overwhelming (just think of what adjusting to the workplace after a long vacation feels like). For companies, understanding how to reinstate corporate culture in the workplace, may be a challenge.
Here are a few tips to start adjusting to office life, for both companies and teams:
Maintain safety and hygiene standards
In order to protect the teams’ health, and contain the potential spread of the virus, safety and hygiene standards need to remain in place. Regular office cleaning and desk cleaning should be scheduled. Team members should ensure that any interactions are kept at a minimum and delivery orders are handled with the same sanitary measures as they are at home. Companies can place signs in the entrance, hallways and bathrooms, to remind employees of hygiene and safety standards, and communicate them internally frequently.
Remote working may remain
Not all companies are ready to have a full headcount at the office. Having rotating shifts of employees is advisable for bigger companies, for overall team safety. Having one or two days of remote working in the first few months after the lockdown is lifted is advisable. Remote working also has economic benefits for companies. Hear from the team and take into consideration their suggestions. Perhaps a great economizing idea will emerge, to cut costs during these difficult times.
Workplace morale, is everyone’s responsibility
Being in confinement and losing social ties has been tough to get accustomed to. The transition back to the workplace will be difficult as well, due to the limited social interactions over the past few months. In addition, some team members may not be returning at all, which will automatically create a different dynamic in the workplace.
As a result, workplace morale is the Managers’ and team members’ communal responsibility to maintain and positively contribute to. Team building sessions to revive corporate culture are advisable in the first few weeks of returning to the office. Have team members share their experiences (highs and lows) to create a closer office synergy.
New operating structures and responsibilities need to be clearly communicated via meetings, emails and one-on-one discussions.
Internal communication matters
Ironically enough, C-suite executives and managers have found that the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications, have increased and enhanced internal communication practices. When working remotely, regular communication channels are vital to maintain corporate culture. Upon returning to the office, open channels of communication and enhancing internal communication should be focused on. Send out an employee survey to hear from the team, with regards to office culture, recommended areas of improvement and how they can advance in their roles.
Over the past two months, self-development has been a priority for millions of people across the globe. Online trainings, workshops, webinars and courses were enrolled in more than ever before. Maintaining a culture of learning and encouraging team members to continue to take part in online courses is integral. Team members should also be encouraged to share key takeaways from each course, workshop or webinar, to spread knowledge and ideas to all team members.
Every person on the team can have something to contribute to revive the corporate culture. Openly communicate. And remember, it is the responsibility of every single person on the team, to maintain health and safety standards.