While it seems that some business will best be conducted remotely for some time yet, it is still very important to start planning for a return to in-house operations now. This will help them to hit the ground running when the floodgates open back up. For this week’s tip, we’re going over how to return to the office after working remotely, while also reviewing some best practices for adjusting to remote work (just in case).
In-House to Remote
In order to effectively adopt remote operations (voluntarily or in response to some disaster), you need to be sure that your team is prepared to do so. To help ease the transition, there are a few preparations that are wise to see to beforehand.
- Change as little as possible - In order to make the shift to remote operations minimally jarring, try to keep as much of your typical workday routine the same as it would ever be. Working for the same time as you would normally, establishing a set place for doing work in your home, and even dressing as though you’re going to the office are all excellent ways to normalize the unusual environment and preserve productivity.
- Give them the tools they need - In order to collaborate in an effective way, your team members need the tools to do so. While email is generally thought of first when it comes to company communications, there are other options that should be implemented in tandem with it. These other options, like video conferencing and instant messaging, can serve your team’s needs better in certain situations.
- Keep in contact - Unfortunately, collaboration will not be as easy as it was when your team members could turn to the people next to them and ask a question. Therefore, you not only need to provide them with the solutions to communicate with one another, you need to actively encourage them to do so until it is standard practice for everyone. This will benefit both your operations and company morale.
Remote to In-House
One the all-clear has been given to return to the workplace, your team will need to be ready to transition back to their workplace norms. Of course, this may be easier said than done, so you should assist them in doing so just as you did when they shifted to remote operations. We have a few suggestions to make this easier as well.
- Continue their remote work habits - As your team was working from home, there is a good chance that they discovered the way that they work best as an individual. Don’t make them switch back just because they are in the office, and instead allow them to work the way that they found to be most effective (if it doesn’t interfere with others’ workflows).
- Be responsibly social - One of the biggest drawbacks to working remotely is that there is effectively no social aspect to it any longer. Once your team returns to the office, cut them a little bit of slack if they’re talkative (again, if the work isn’t impacted negatively). In fact, consider starting some new, socially motivated company events for the purpose of team building. One caveat: don’t do this last part before the current health crisis is confirmed to have been resolved.
- Encourage a comfortable work environment - The hard truth of the matter is that not everyone is going to get dressed up for work every day that they are working remotely, so it may not be best to insist upon a dress code once they return. Of course, you should draw the line somewhere before mud masks and that comfortable pair of old, ragged sweatpants that everyone has someplace, but blankets and small plants can make the workplace seem more inviting.
Unfortunately, no in-house to remote and back to in-house transition will go off without any hiccups at all, but accommodating your team to the best of your ability should make it better for everyone. As far as your technology is concerned in these shifts, you can leave that to Preferred. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help with your business collaboration and remote work capabilities by calling 708-781-7110.