The workplace this year has been a new virtual reality with video calls, separated teams and challenging communication. What is the workplace likely to look like when we move back? Once the dust settles, a new normal will start to present itself. This new normalcy can create emotions you have never recognized or addressed before in your staff.
Managers need to focus on reconnecting the team to reenergize the workflow. There are three situations that most business will realize as we are establish the new normal. First, the team members are starting to ‘work from work’ again and need an opportunity to get reintroduced. Second, there may be members that will continue to ‘work from home’ so they need occasional opportunities to feel like part of the same team. Finally, your team may have been essential through the crisis so they need an opportunity to relax and have fun. Team dynamics have shifted during the crisis so a team outing can help everyone feel comfortable again.
Our team can create expert local opportunities to reconnect your team. However, we need to understand that going back into the new work environment reveals that each employee will handle the transition differently. WorkPlaceOptions.com has these suggestions for team leaders:
Address changes in behavior. As a manager, you are responsible for your employees’ ability to fully engage with their work. Returning to the workplace following the pandemic may present employees with a unique emotional barrier—fear of being exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace. Some employees will share this fear with you upfront; others may not. So, it is important to pay attention to changes in your employees’ behaviors to recognize how they may be feeling, and address that in a constructive way.
Keep communication open. When returning to work, remember to keep the lines of communication open to all your employees. Let them know they can come to you about anything impacting their engagement with work. Each employee may communicate differently. Some individuals are hesitant to proactively engage in communication with management.
Astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent almost a year isolated in space, discussed on the This Is Working podcast how managers should relate to employees as a result of the covid-19 crisis said, “Managers should be reaching out… all the time.” He also shared that “letting people know that they’re important and people care about them is so important…”
Listen and share. Allow your staff to express their feelings to you and listen. Simply by listening, you can help ease fear or other emotions they are facing. In addition, sharing your own experiences related to fear might be helpful to your employee. Knowing that a person in a leadership role is going through or has gone through similar feelings might help some staff feel better about the situation.
Compromise and accommodate. Your employees are your business’ greatest asset. If you notice changes in an employee or they confide in you that they have reservations about returning to the office, do your best to make a supportive plan. For example, if they ask to work from home for a week longer or they request to work in a space separate from other staff to ease their fears, set some boundaries and accommodate these requests.
Create an opportunity. This pandemic has provided a moment to stop and reevaluate company values and practices. The workplace behaviors that you likely shared during the pandemic of team solidarity, compromise, efficiency, creativity, and compassion, do not need to disappear when everyone returns to the workplace. These can elevate your workplace and your company’s bottom line. A successful return to work plan includes figuring out how to support and integrate these behaviors into your company’s culture and goals going forward.
Your Iowa Tour Company team wants to help your team reconnect. Plan a future food tour or a brew tour as a get out of the office for a unique happy hour or afternoon away. Maybe the team is interested in a history walk tour with a lunch. Look forward to a custom crafted holiday party activity. We want to make sure you have a strong successful team energized to grow the business. We will work with you to create an activity that matches your budget and the time available. Review our Corporate & Group options or contact us to customize a tour activity that matches your group.
We look forward to hosting your team. We make workdays fun.