As we begin welcoming back our workforce that has been remote for well over a year, I wanted to provide some guidance on making that transition go as smoothly as possible, and provide some questions to also ask ourselves for reflection.  Remember: this is a transition, yet again.   Some employees will embrace the return, others will be hesitant and may take longer to find their routine.  Our responsibility as leaders is to provide the care, understanding, and support needed for them to be set up for success in this new (to them!) environment.

For Your Team

Just like when we sent our workforce home, we demonstrated patience, understanding, an abundant amount of communication, and grace.  We need to extend that same support again as we welcome them back to campus.  Continue to “check in” with team members as they return (and this will be easier as they will be literally feet from you!).  Below I’ve listed some questions to help with check ins:

  • How are you doing? (simple, but listen to their response and understand some will adjust quicker than others to being back onsite)
  • Do you have everything you need? (The desk/chair/screen set up they are coming back to is likely different than what they are used to – acknowledge there is an adjustment to getting used to the work set up, just like they needed to adjust to their home set up months ago)
  • Is there anything you need from me to assist with this transition?
  • Also reiterate you are excited to have them back on campus – I am confident teams will experience a sense of joy when they see one another, but make sure your direct reports know that you are especially glad to have them back.
  • Avoid using the phrase “back to normal” – rather, embrace the fact that we are transitioning to a new normal, and that we are experiencing this transition together.  I think this will relieve the sense of return being “forced”, but rather just another change in how we do work

For You!

  • For some that have been on campus either the entire time, or majority of the time, the bullet points above may leave you feeling frustrated or exhausted.  That is okay!  Lean on other managers and leadership, discuss your challenges with the transition and support each other through this.
  • Give yourself some room – this is going to be a change for you as well!  We’ve adjusted to managing remotely – managing a hybrid or on campus team will change our routines again as well.  Maybe there will be less Zoom meetings, maybe you’ll find yourself rearranging when and how you check in with team members – give yourself some leeway to adjust too!
  • As always, find time to reflect and question if your actions are in alignment with our culture.  Ultimately, the care and support you provide to your team is critical, and well lead to a smoother, quicker, and successful transition for your team members.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I look forward to seeing more of the Belmark Family on campus!