In the wake of this coronavirus outbreak, it will take the world some time to heal and recover. In the midst of quarantine and a low-key first half of the year, it’s been difficult to see just how we’ll emerge from the changes and challenges that have come from this pandemic. One thing is for certain: there will be an adjustment period as we all return to the office to resume our previous work schedules.
Snacks and Drinks
It’s a well-known fact that food and drink bring people together, especially in the workplace. Carve out some time for chit-chat and snacks first thing in the morning so that your employees can get caught up with each other after these months of quarantine. Encourage everyone to reflect with positivity and ask everyone what they’re looking forward to as things return to normal; it would be all too easy for the chit-chat to become negative.
A Little Something
If you have the time, consider leaving something on everyone’s desk as they return to the office. Notes of appreciation, a small gift card to the local coffee shop, new pens, or a notebook. Take the time to pick something that will make everyone smile, even for a second – we all need a little bit of that right now.
Have Real Conversations
Depending on how much your employees are willing to open up, you can leave your door open to those who want to come in and chat. Ask everyone how quarantine really affected them – how did it affect their view of the company they work for, other companies, and those around them. We’ve all been lacking in the human interaction department lately, and it would be great to be able to connect with co-workers and management on a different level than the usual video chat or voice call.
More Frequent Meetings
As we all start to figure out how remote work will now fit into our lives post-COVID, it would be best to keep everyone on the same page about how things will run differently (if at all). Try to hold meetings more often for teams that are still in the process of bringing people back in; this will help keep everyone up to date and help each employee feel valued and included. You can also take this time to talk about what kind of feedback your team has on the technology employed during the work-from-home mandates. What improvements could be made for future returns of this or another virus outbreak?
Above all, this is a time to show patience and understanding. Social isolation is difficult on most of us as humans reliant on interpersonal interaction. There will be a learning curve as we all attempt to carve out a “new normal” as it were; let’s all take a collective breath and dial into each other’s needs so that we can resume work together in a shared space!