Hopefully the next 18 months will bring with it a bit more normalcy than the previous year and a half, and with it some time for people to actually settle back into a routine. The COVID pandemic caused countless workplace shakeups, with the most common being a move to the remote office setting. As many businesses start to open their doors back up to both workers and customers/clients, the same stress that people experienced adapting to working from home is likely to be experienced when re-adapting to the brick-and-mortar setting.
With this, there will undoubtedly be requests by employees to do some of the things that they were able to do from their homes, especially stress-relief activities like yoga or a long walk. Enabling your team to perform to their highest levels means enabling them with all things work-related, and also enabling them by providing proper outlets for stress relief and other means of maintaining mental health.
Here are 5 tips on how to help your team help themselves as everyone moves back to the office settings.
Cultural Awareness and Inclusiveness
Regardless of the demographics in your workplace, it’s both morally and financially wise to promote inclusion and diversity within your company. And even though many businesses are migrating back to a brick-and-mortar office setting, the capability discoveries involving remote work and ecommerce caused by the pandemic mean lots of options for expansion, both with customers and potential hires.
Practicing cross-cultural leadership instills values of inclusiveness while also educating on how to communicate with members of other cultural backgrounds. Ultimately, a diverse company will last longer and perform better than a counterpart with no focus on inclusion. A rare win-win in the business world!
Clear communication is a two-way street, but as most things do: it starts with the leaders. Giving clear, well-outlined directions enables your team to perform at their highest levels. Being someone who promotes open communication between team members just empowers those individuals further, as they feel comfortable asking for clarifications and discussing their ideas. Periodic training on positive office communication is also important, especially if your workplace gets a lot of new hires, and outsourcing for corporate trainers is worth looking into if you find yourself spread a bit too thin to conduct regular training.
Toe the Micromanage Line
No one likes a micromanager, but no one likes to be left without any direction as to how to complete their tasks. Everyone does, however, have their own preferred middle ground, and this, too, takes open communication to determine. Discuss the level of involvement each of your team members prefers from a managerial standpoint, and interact accordingly. Obviously it’s your job to make sure everyone does their jobs, and if some of the “hands off” colleagues are not performing up to expectations, you may have to be a bit more involved than they’d like. Even this, though, should be respectfully communicated.
Allow for Flexibility
Another thing that the pandemic allowed for was extra flexibility with remote work, and the majority of U.S. employees outperformed expectations while forced to work remotely due to stay-at-home orders. It’s going to be a natural reaction for people coming back to the office to miss that flexibility, but if they performed well when they had it, they should be able to do so again. Flexibility equals happy employees, and happy employees work hard.
A delightful trend in the business world is the humanizing of the workplace. After all, so long as an employee hasn’t been replaced by a robot yet, they are just that: human beings with issues like everyone else. Empathy goes hand-in-hand with flexibility, and listening to your colleagues about what may be troubling them on a day-to-day basis allows for better understanding if work would slip, and understanding leads to betterment.
One Thing They All Have In Common…
The common trend in this article has been communication, and with communication almost anything can be made much easier from a managerial standpoint. Certainly there will be times where the proverbial hammer will have to drop, but generally speaking and open dialogue between employer and employee results in a positive and productive workplace.