Top 10 Qs for When Bringing Employees Back into the Office
Over the past 2 months with COVID-19, many companies shifted their workforce to fully remote work and focused on their clients. How to adapt to still retain/grow customers, re-imagine products/services, enhance customer experience, etc. - all rightfully so.
👇 Now the shift is thinking ahead for when staff are back in offices. It's about the employee experience. If I were facilitating a discussion around this, here are 10 key questions I'd be asking: 👇
1) What worked and didn't work being fully remote? Basically asking, what were the successes and challenges? While productivity may be up, not everything is better when fully remote.
2) What has changed or will change about an employee's typical day - from wake up through going to sleep? I'd use an empathy map to chart this out, putting myself in the shoes of various employee situations, such as a parent, caregiver, roommate, etc.
3) What benefits, policies and procedures should you consider adjusting/adding/removing? Employees have been asked to step up during this challenging time. And while unemployment is way up, that doesn't mean you can slack on talent retention. Consider that when digging into this question.
4) How will you maintain a safe working environment? Safety is on everyone's mind and is the #1 priority - so everyone says. You'll need to demonstrate this when re-opening.
5) What is the right time to start transitioning back? It doesn't have to be the minute Stay at Home or similar guidance is lifted. Be thoughtful about what makes the most sense for your staff.
6) What will the transition back into the office look like? It doesn't have to be a light switch you can just flip back on. Consider a staggered approach if it suits your employees.
7) What guidance will be provided for remote work going forward? Employees have vastly proven they can work and be productive remotely. Expectations for a greater portion of their job to be remote will increase. What will be your right threshold balancing the value of in-the-office vs. remote work? If considering more remote work, what duplicate equipment may you be willing to provide to set up both a home and company office?
8) How will you welcome employees back - and continue to celebrate and appreciate staff? Get creative with this. It's about talent retention. Enough said.
9) What tools/software/resources may be needed? The past 2 months have been a good testing ground for existing and new systems and software. Determine which will be most effective continuing on with or eliminating. Identify inefficiencies that occurred and determine how you can address moving forward.
10) How will you communicate all of this to your employees? We've all seen headlines around good and bad communication. Everything from 3 minute mass layoffs via Zoom to some of the most well-done, empathetic, transparent and authentic communication from company leaders. The importance of communicating in the right ways does not end when staff start returning to the office. It's not just Zoom, it's not just an email, it's not just a group gathering, it's not just 1-on-1s. It's a mix of many communication tools being used in a coherent manner.