In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s becoming apparent that the workplace may never fully return to the “normal” 9-to-5, location-based status quo. According to Forbes, a majority of polled workers would turn down a $30,000 a year raise to continue working from home.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 variants, local health guidelines change seemingly by the week. Occupancy limits can wreak havoc on scheduling. In this environment, how can you work in or manage a successful transition to a hybrid office model?
1) Build trust
Trust is important at all times, but in times of change, it’s paramount. Employees crave transparency when it comes to organizational changes. They should be able to see how each choice is made and how those choices keep their best interests and safety at heart.
2) Prioritize communication
In the spirit of transparency, financial advisors and leaders need to work extra hard at communicating any shifts to the workflow or workplace to their team. This should be a dialogue not a monologue. Seek feedback and see how your team feels each step of the way.
The shift to a hybrid workplace is a unique opportunity to boost productivity by tailoring team members’ work to best fit their personalities. In general, extroverts shine in an office setting, while introverts naturally take to the solitude of working from home. However, extenuating circumstances may complicate that. For example, an introvert may have a large family and inadequate home office resources.
Before you blindly hand down edicts, spend time learning about employees’ situations and what environment they thrive in. Ideally, you’ll be able to gather this information on an individual level. But in larger organizations, sending out surveys is a good way to test the waters. Managers of large teams may need to ask staff to generate reports on when and how they feel most productive. This will help greatly in scheduling and staffing decisions.
3) Set clear expectations
After gathering feedback, the best way to communicate policies and expectations for returning to the office is to create a set of guidelines. Dropbox has an excellent example. This guide doesn’t need to be elaborate. Put yourself in the shoes of your employees and make a list of questions they might have. Then answer those questions to the best of your ability.
Some of these questions might include:
- How often will I be expected to come into the office?
- What do I do if I have a fever?
- Will my days in the office shift or stay the same?
- What is the policy if an employee gets COVID?
All team members should have the guidelines as well as an opportunity to ask questions or give feedback. It should be a working document that evolves as the hybrid model changes and grows.
By building trust, prioritizing transparent communication, and setting an evolving set of guidelines, you can create an open and productive hybrid office.
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