How to Ensure a Smooth Transition Back to the Office

Author: Gina Cunsolo

We're all hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic is on the wane and the world can return to some sense of normalcy. After more than a year of having staff work from home, employers are anxious to get their workforce to transition back to the office, whether it's full-time or not.

But with staff having grown accustomed to some of the benefits of working from home, returning to the office can be difficult. Workers have gotten used to their short commute from their bedroom to their home office. They've become comfortable wearing sweatpants instead of business suits and having the dog sleeping at their feet under the desk. They've become accustomed to not having to drop the kids off at daycare, and the money they've been saving by not having to pay for things related to going into the office, such as gas, parking, and child care, has been a welcome addition to their budget.

Still, with the economy roaring back to life, there's tremendous pressure on employers to get back to business as usual. To make the return easier, here are a few steps employers can take to ease a return to the office after COVID:

When Returning Back To The Office, Take it slow

Going back to work after working from home for more than a year is sure to be a shock and will likely disrupt the routines staffers have created for themselves. Expecting workers to return to the office full time and maintain productivity isn't realistic and will probably hurt morale. Instead, begin by having workers spend a day or two at the office for the first few weeks while allowing them to continue working from home the rest of the time.


Do some deep cleaning

After being prompted for months about the importance of washing your hands and maintaining social distancing standards, employees are likely to be hyper-conscious when it comes to cleanliness. And if your office space was vacant during the height of the pandemic, it's expected to be a bit dusty. Have a cleaning crew go over the area before workers return. To help with the process, Yamaha Unified Communications has created a collection of office cleaning tips along with a checklist to help ensure nothing is missed.

Consider a hybrid approach

Workers weren't the only ones to capture some of the benefits of the transition to remote work. Many businesses let go of unused office space over the past year, reducing expenses and helping to soften the blow to the bottom line caused by COVID-related economic disruption. Allowing staff to work from home part of the week while sharing space in the office can help retain some of those savings. Making a transition to shared office space and having groups of workers alternate between coming in and working from home can allow operations to continue in much less space than would be needed if everyone returned to the office at the same time.

Listen to your workers

Talk to employees to gauge how they feel about a return to the office and be transparent about the company's position. Some employees may be completely comfortable with returning to work after COVID, while others may be unwilling to part with the freedom of working from home. Look at the productivity of your workers when they're in the office compared with when they work from home, and factor that into your decision. If productivity is higher when everyone's in the office, then so be it, but if not, let them work from home at least part of the time. Studies have shown that remote workers are happier, more productive, and less likely to leave their position, which translates to improved revenues and higher profits. Having workers come in a few days a week can help retain office camaraderie, while letting them work from home the rest of the time can keep morale high.

Want to know more about how Yamaha UC can help smooth the transition back to the office, no matter what form that office takes? Contact us and let our experts help!