As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and people feel more comfortable reentering the world, employers face an important question — what should your company’s new “normal” look like?
Many companies are considering returning to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the viability of other working options, such as working from home or having flexible work arrangements. This article will explore the pros and cons of returning to the office after COVID-19 to help you make the best decisions for your team. With a strong return to work plan, you can create an even better experience for employees in a post-pandemic world.
The Pros of Returning to Office
For some, returning to the office represents a return to normalcy. There are a number of benefits to making this move, from more productive communication to increased teamwork.
More Productive Communication
When working remotely, companies must rely on software such as Zoom and Slack to facilitate communication and conversation. However, it can be difficult to communicate effectively in this way. Sometimes, it’s more productive to have a good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. Returning to the office after COVID-19 has the potential to increase productivity due to more effective communication alone.
Working from an office naturally creates more structured days than working from home. When employees work from home, they’re often surrounded by non-work-related distractions, like TV, cleaning, and laundry. Being at home also gives them the flexibility to sleep in later and structure their day as they see fit, as long as they’re fulfilling their job responsibilities. This setup is a dream for some employees, but others prefer the structure of an office. For those employees, more structured workdays in the office can help them work with fewer distractions and improve their ability to focus on the tasks at hand.
Reinstated Work-Life Balance
Creating and maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be challenging for employees. However, it can be even more challenging for employees working from home.
Working from home often creates blurry work-life boundaries. It can feel like there’s no distinction between work responsibilities and home responsibilities, which can cause some employees to feel trapped and overwhelmed. Returning to the office after COVID-19 can help give employees a clear distinction and maintain the boundaries necessary to show up at work and at home as their best selves.
They say that teamwork makes the dream work. For many companies, this statement rings loud, clear, and true. Working from the office can make teamwork easier. After all, it’s much easier to collaborate with people that are a few feet away than it is to have to schedule video conferences. Working together in person can also foster a team environment through more frequent professional and casual interactions, improving employee morale and productivity.
The Cons of Returning to Office
Returning to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic comes with its downsides, too. Some employees may fear for their safety or dread returning to their old commute.
Commute times can be a challenge for employees returning to the office after COVID-19, particularly in areas with high traffic. Spending time driving to and from work each day also has the potential to negatively affect employee’s work-life balance, especially those who used their extra time to take care of themselves.
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic is a traumatic event, affecting their sense of safety and well-being. Companies should take steps to implement advanced health and safety measures as well as address individual concerns.
Returning to the office will require employees to readjust to a new schedule. Many people have been working from home for more than a year and have adjusted to that format. A return to the office means getting up earlier to drive to the office, spending additional time getting ready for the day, and creating a whole new routine. This may be particularly challenging for employees with children.
Tips for a Smooth Transition Back
These tips will help ensure your company’s transition back to work is as smooth as possible. Leverage these tips for your return to work plan — your employees will thank you for it.
Offer Hybrid Work Days
Hybrid work days give employees flexibility during the transition back to the office. Employers and employees can choose from a variety of hybrid schedules, such as working from home a few days a week or splitting time between home and the office on certain days.
Offering this kind of flexibility can help employees make the necessary adjustments to transition back into working at an office. It can also help everyone get comfortable with the idea at a slower pace. This option must be effectively managed to avoid confusion and communication challenges as employees work from different places.
Consider a Phased Return
Having employees come back in “waves” via a phased return can help employees adjust to life at the office with a smaller group of individuals. This approach allows for social distancing and helps limit the number of people in the office on a given day. A phased return can also be a great return-to-work plan for companies that have grown during the pandemic and don’t have office space for all of their employees at once.
Promote Workplace Health Practices
If you’re planning on returning to the office after COVID-19, it’s important to actively promote workplace health practices to keep everyone safe, healthy, and comfortable. Create hand sanitizing stations, sanitize shared office spaces, and offer health evaluations on-site. Showing employees you’re committed to keeping them safe can help ease any worries they may have.
Make Your Way Back to the Office with BestCompaniesAZ!
If you’re interested in making your way back to a new office, BestCompaniesAZ can help. Explore our site to learn more about some of Arizona’s top employers and find open opportunities at these great companies.
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