More than a year after businesses were forced to game plan around their employees working remotely, many of those businesses are now discussing plans to move back into their respective offices. Although exciting news, this transition will be as challenging as the adjustment of remote working was for many.
Build excitement around reopening and prepare your office for the hustle and bustle that once made it such a lively space. Utilize these five tips to welcome back your work family and refresh your workplace.
1. Redecorate Your Workspace
Create a welcoming environment by redecorating the space and building anticipation before the “big reveal.” Give your employees something to look forward to as they come back by renovating your office and giving it a new look.
Small things can make a huge difference in a redecoration. Slight changes like window, wall, and floor graphics will make it feel like a new home again. Vinyl graphics are a great option because of their versatility—apply them on doors, furniture, appliances, and even ceilings.
Develop an array of branded graphics that contain your logo and company tagline for employees to showcase their company pride. A great example is to create a focal point within your office by placing a floor-to-ceiling graphic. It will inspire both employees and customers when they walk into your office and should reflect the core values of your company.
2. Improve Guest Areas
Extending your office redecoration to visitor areas can solidify your brand experience and add to the welcoming environment you are trying to create. The emotions that guests feel are just as important, if not more important than that of returning employees.
Make it known what your company stands for by putting up new graphics around the office. Make sure these visuals can be easily viewed by visitors who might be entering your space for the first time since you stopped allowing walk-ins. Strengthen customer relationships by displaying the core values of your company in a bold way.
3. Acknowledge Different Levels of Comfort
Many people will still feel uncomfortable with in-person interactions even after we’re told it’s safe to return to work. Taking this into account and adapting to their needs should make for a smoother transition for all employees who will be returning to the office.
Social distancing signage would significantly ease tensions on this front. Installing floor decals, table signs, and custom glass door vinyl will remind employees that social distancing is still a need for the time being. Utilizing directional signage to indicate the flow of traffic should also buffer problematic situations.
Implementing a system of nonverbal cues is another way to express individual preferences without directly addressing it. Desk signage, chair decals, stickers, wristbands, lanyards, or other visual indicators that use a color system to alert coworkers what types of interactions are appropriate is another informal way of tackling the issue. For example, a red sign could mean no physical contact, while yellow means elbow bumps are okay, and green indicates handshakes, hugs, and high-fives are welcome.
4. Create the Anticipation
Coworkers will be overjoyed to see friends they haven’t been able to talk face-to-face within over a year. Use this excitement to boost morale and make the return to the office a grand event.
Welcome your employees back with a “goodie bag” filled with presents, new supplies, and treats! This will remind your staff that they are a valued member of your team and help them reconnect with the roots of your brand.
You can put almost anything in the box—branded or otherwise—but some ideas include: essential office supplies, important information about new guidelines, comfort level indicators, and an assortment of fun items. This could be electronics, such as headphones or mini-Bluetooth speakers, self-care and relaxation kits, branded apparel, and more!
5. Keep a Positive Outlook!
The transition back to the office will be more of a challenge for some employees than others. Make team members aware that you are there to support them through the good and bad times.
Continue to be an encouraging influence and share optimistic messages within your team to remind them of the positive things that come with returning to the office. Share the advantages of working face-to-face again, such as, enhanced collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving, as well as, team unity.
Finding ways to celebrate together will bond team members once again. Rejoice in the special occasions, individual accomplishments, team wins, goals achieved, and more. These small merriments can help employees get back in the groove while also fostering a more positive workplace.
Bringing teams back into the office will be more difficult than you realize. However, you can move forward as a stronger, more cohesive company by planning ahead, finding ways to engage employees, and working to make their return as positive as possible.