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5 tips on welcoming teams back to the office

As things begin to look up and cases go down, many offices are opening their doors once again to employees. However, a return to the office environment might not be as straightforward as you’d expect.

After almost two years of working from home, there are likely adjustments to be made by businesses and their employees to ease the transition. Here are some tips that might help.

Clearing up the office space

With a little bit of prior planning, employees can come back to a clean, welcoming, organised office. Arrange for cleaners to dust off the furniture and tables, re-stock the office kitchen, and make health supplies available to everyone by providing sanitisers, wet wipes, and other cleaning products. It’s important for all employees to know, and see, what their company is doing to keep them safe.

Invest in a welcome gift

Who wouldn’t like to see a gift waiting for them at their desk? Whether it’s new tech like headphones or speakers to take home, a gift basket with some edible treats, or even a handwritten note warmly welcoming them back, a thoughtful gesture goes a long way in making employees comfortable in the office space again.

Implement team-building exercises

Not only are team-building exercises a great way for new employees to break the ice with colleagues they’ve only seen before on a screen, but it’s also a great way to boost morale among existing employees. This could include activities like a scavenger hunt or a trivia competition inside the office space, or perhaps office brunch or happy hour.

Ask them what could be different

With the help of regularly scheduled open forums or individual surveys, give your employees a chance to voice their opinion on the way the office runs. After all, it’s been two whole years of managing for themselves at home, and they’re likely to return to the office with fresh perspectives. You’ll be able to get plenty of new ideas to make it a more efficient (and enjoyable) place that employees look forward to entering every day.

Be flexible

Perhaps the most important aspect is to remain flexible. Between juggling house chores, childcare, and work responsibilities, employees have taken on a lot with the pandemic, and they’ve found ways to make it work for them. Perhaps some would prefer a hybrid model of working certain days at the office and other days at home. Others might like an investment in better technology to make their work faster and easier. Also, be open to mid-day breaks in the office and provide space in the employee’s schedule to decompress and evaluate work completed so far. Coming back to the office shouldn’t feel like a chore! 

READ ALSO: Here are five practical ways to use Slack to work smarter, not harder

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Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea L Nath is a Sydney-based writer and editor. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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