5 Tips for Welcoming Employees Back to the Office

After more than a year of working from home, many businesses are looking ahead at the possibility of returning to the office later this year. This is an exciting prospect for many. However, in the same way, working from home required a transition, returning to the office will, too.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do now to prepare your office for reopening and build excitement among your employees as they get ready to come back. These five tips can help you freshen up your space and welcome employees back in a positive way.

1. Redecorate Your Workspace

One of the simplest things you can do before your employees return is redecorate to create an inviting environment. Giving your space an upgrade will build anticipation for your office reopening since the “big reveal” will give everyone something to look forward to.

Redecorating doesn’t require a major overhaul. Simple things like window, wall, and floor graphics can go a long way in making your space feel brand new. Vinyl graphics can be applied just about anywhere—not only on windows, walls, and floors, but also on doors, furniture, appliances, and even ceilings.

Use specially designed and branded graphics to create an immersive experience and build brand pride among your teams. For example, apply a floor-to-ceiling graphic in a prominent area to create a statement wall and an office focal point. It could display your company’s mission or vision to remind employees why you do business.

2. Revamp Visitor Areas

Reopening your office doesn’t only mean your employees are coming back—it also signals the return of in-person meetings with clients. Extend your redecorating efforts to common areas and visitor spaces like your lobby, waiting areas, and meeting rooms to further solidify your brand experience.

Just like your employee-facing workspaces, outfit these areas with new graphics that display who your brand is and what you stand for. You want visitors to have a positive experience with your brand in order to strengthen those relationships—especially after a year of distance.

3. Consider Different Comfort Levels

Even when it’s safe for employees to return to work, everyone is going to have different comfort levels for in-person interactions. During your transition back to the office, be mindful of these varying preferences and adapt to meet individual needs.

One way to do this is to utilize social distancing signage while redecorating your space. Employ floor decals in common areas, as well as signs on tables and chairs in meeting rooms, to remind people to keep a safe distance. You could also implement directional signage to indicate one-way pathways where necessary.

Another way to improve the comfort of your office is to provide employees with tools to express their preferences nonverbally. This could take the form of desk signage, chair decals, stickers, wristbands, lanyards, or other visual indicators that use a color system to alert coworkers about what types of interactions are appropriate. For example, a red sign could mean no physical contact, while yellow means elbow bumps are okay, and a green indicates handshakes, hugs, and high-fives are welcome.

4. Build the Excitement

Many people will be excited to see their coworkers face-to-face again and any changes you’ve made to your office. Build on this excitement and boost morale by making the return to the office a momentous occasion!

Invite employees back with a “welcome back” box packed with branded gifts, new materials, and goodies. This type of gesture will help your employees reconnect and feel like they are a valued members of the team.

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. Stay Positive

After working from home for so long, transitioning back to the office will be more challenging for some employees than others. Make sure your team members know you’re there to support them every step of the way.

Keep your overall messaging positive to remind people of the many good things that returning to the office can offer. Focus on the benefits, such as enhanced collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving, as well as team unity.

In addition, find ways to celebrate together. Maintain positivity by celebrating being back together as a team and recognizing special occasions, individual accomplishments, team wins, goals achieved, and more. These celebrations can help employees get back in the groove while also fostering a more positive workplace.

Bringing your teams back to the office will no doubt require a period of transition. However, by planning ahead, finding ways to engage employees, and working to make their return as positive as possible, you’ll be able to forge ahead as a stronger, more unified company.

4 Ways to Boost Your Marketing Using Social Distancing Signage

Social distancing and safety signage isn’t going away anytime soon. While your business needs to adhere to those mandates a while longer, customers are tired of seeing the same generic signs everywhere they go. What’s even worse are the handwritten signs and the peeling tape that’s spread along the floor. Having worn, outdated, or dirty signage could be sending the wrong message about your brand.

Now is the time to refresh and replace your COVID-19 signage. But beyond that, it’s time to rethink how you do safety signage altogether! Your signs can—and should—be used as a tool to reinforce your brand messages and boost your marketing efforts.

Consider these four ways to maximize your marketing with social distancing signage.

1. Align with Your Branding

At this point, everyone knows the guidelines for social distancing in public. Signs mainly serve as reminders to ensure customers follow those practices within your building. For this reason, consider changing those generic neon or bright red signs to something that more closely aligns with your brand.

You can tell the story of your business by redesigning your social distancing signage to match your branding and décor. Incorporate elements of your brand identity, such as colors, fonts, shapes, and images—or even your brand mascot or character—to make signs unique to your business. Doing so will increase brand awareness and create a more pleasant experience for customers while reinforcing safety standards.

2. Advertise Your Products

Your social distancing signage isn’t only good for branding—it can also help promote what your business has to offer! Try incorporating product messaging and imagery into your signs in place of the usual social distancing symbols and language.

For example, if you own a car dealership, you can promote the vehicles you sell by encouraging customers to stand a “Camry” or a “Jetta” length apart. Alternatively, if you run a burger joint, you could redesign your floor graphics to feature a different delicious-looking burger every six feet.

This clever advertising strategy also provides opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, particularly when it’s used near the point of sale or where customers will be waiting in line.

3. Get Creative

Few people would call the average health and safety sign “fun,” but that doesn’t mean it can’t be! Social distancing signage doesn’t need to have one standard look for every business. You have the opportunity to mix it up and be creative.

There are tons of ways to “wow” customers with your creativity. Signage can be aligned with holidays, major events, or the seasons—think snowflakes in the winter or flip-flops in the summer. You can also tie industry information into your signs. For example, gyms might include a quick health fact on every graphic, while a wine shop might theme its social distancing signs around different varietals.

The more creative you are with your signage, the more you’ll surprise your customers. This leads to a more memorable visit to your business and leaves them with a positive impression of your brand. Plus, creative signs are more eye-catching, meaning people are more likely to pay attention and adhere to what they say.

4. Generate Leads

Safety signage doesn’t have to be a static experience that only enforces healthy behaviors inside your business. It can also be used as a powerful lead generation tool that encourages customers to engage with your brand long after they’ve visited your physical location.

This is easily achieved by adding QR codes to your signs. With a quick scan, customers are directed to a webpage where they can sign up for a loyalty program, subscribe to your marketing emails or newsletter, download your app, or receive a discount code!

These lead generation tactics help draw customers’ attention to your signage and provide an added incentive for them. In the end, this helps you build long-term relationships with your audience across multiple platforms.

Create Strategic Signage That Works for Your Brand

Social distancing signage doesn’t have to be standard. You can turn something necessary for public health and safety into a unique opportunity for business marketing and branding!

If it’s time for your business to update your signage, partner with AlphaGraphics Middleton to replace your worn or outdated signs with something brand new. We can help you create customized designs that get noticed and bolster your marketing efforts, so you can put your best foot forward.