We’re at a pivotal moment in time. Vaccines are rolling out. Restaurants are reopening. People are vacationing. And… we are going back to working in person. Re-entering life post-pandemic will be full of moments we will remember forever.
Our first trip post-pandemic.
Our first meal inside a restaurant.
Our first time seeing someone outside our quarantine circle.
Our first day back to the office.
As an employer, you have the opportunity to create an impactful, lasting memory for your team. This could be a sluggish, sheepish return to work. Or, it could be an experience that is exciting, invigorating, and the change they need. The transition to IRL has the potential to impact their perception of work long-term.
Before we discuss the necessary steps to take as a manager, let’s start by level-setting where your team members are at.
The Feelings of Returning to the Office
This transition is likely stirring up mixed emotions for your employees. Getting back to in-person work is a sign that things are returning to normal. At the same time, your team has drastically adjusted their lifestyles to remote work.
They wore a lot of sweatpants and cut down on their morning routines.
They no longer dealt with rush hour, parking, and packing their lunch.
They were able to spend more time with their pets, significant others, and children.
Working from home, at minimum, required less preparation.
So what should you do to make returning to the office a fun experience? What will help your team members deal with rush hour traffic and showering again on a regular cadence?
Here are 7 ways to take to help your employees back to the office:
Send a ‘Welcome Back’ Email
This simple gesture doesn’t cost you a dime and hardly takes any time out of your hectic schedule. Begin the welcome wagon by writing an email to your team. Start by acknowledging the transition to ease any nerves they might be feeling. Inject humor and keep things lighthearted – after all, it’s been an incredibly heavy year.
We also believe it’s a good idea to acknowledge the reality of the changes your team will be facing. Feel free to use our template to send before or during their first day back:
Can you believe the day is here? It’s surreal that our return to the office is finally happening.
Though I know this comes with mixed emotions, I am excited to get back into our former groove and see your faces every day. I’m committed to making this as easy and painless as possible, and it’s my top priority to ensure this goes well for us all.
To ease any nerves, keep in mind that we are going to have an adjustment period. Keep me updated on the challenges you are facing and let’s promise to keep open communication about how the transition is going.
I’m so proud of the work this team has done and your ability to pivot throughout an incredibly challenging year. Thank you for all you’ve done – you are a dream team.
Now with that said…
Welcome back to the office, all-stars!
Rally the Troops for Team Lunch
In the first few days back, make an unplugged lunch a top priority for your team. Sharing laughs over the challenges and hiccups your team faced will help ease the nerves and anxieties.
Remember the time your co-worker’s kid interrupted an important board meeting? Or the time your cat knocked over a flat-screen TV during an all-hands? Walk down memory lane of the things that happened while on-screen… for better and for worse.
If you really want to make a splash, make WFH Superlatives for your team. A little game of “Most Likely To…” is a great icebreaker to get re-acclimated.
Send a Gift
It’s a small investment with BIG payoff. Sending a gift will help set an extra celebratory tone for your team.
With Greetabl, we make it easy to send fun, affordable, and memorable gifts so that you can feel closer to the people in your life. You can schedule a gift up to 90 days in advance, so you can even plan ahead for a little one or two-month check-in.
Here are a few of our best-sellers:
Give a little workplace encouragement to those who deserve it most.
Couldn’t Do This Without You Print
The best way to say, “Our team wouldn’t be the same without you!”.
We know that a simple “You Rock!” goes a long way for your people.
Help keep germs away with this sweet-smelling citrusy surprise.
Perfect for small spaces, this bright P.F. Candle soy candle lights up the room with a notes of amber and moss. Mmmm.
The magic of essential oils now comes in a spray bottle. This nap-in-a-bottle will helps ease the mind, relaxing soothing with a fresh mist.
Have a large team? No worries! Our sales team is here to help make your gifting easy and seamless. You select the gift and provide the address(es), and they take care of the rest!
Schedule Time for Check-Ins and Feedback
Upon returning, it’s going to be easy to get swept up in all the demands of being back in the office. Make sure you’re scheduling check-ins with your direct reports. Encourage them to give you feedback and tackle issues as they arise.
Make Time for Re-Onboarding
Now is a great time to evaluate old office policies and level-set expectations. Along with the feedback you’re receiving, make sure you’re considering former processes and making changes where needed. Just because things are back to the office doesn’t mean everything needs to stay the exact same.
Not only will this make you a more efficient, better team, it’ll show your employees that you’re committed to making this the best place they’ve ever worked.
Consider a New Workplace Tradition
Coffee Fridays? Bagel Mondays? Give your team something new to look forward to and create a tradition. Your employees will now have something unique to look forward to in the office, which makes going back all the more exciting!
Someone is going to forget how long it takes to park in the garage. You might’ve misjudged how long the commute takes when it’s raining. A team member might still be figuring out childcare. It’s important to have grace for yourself and your team as we settle back in.