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After more than three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely that your business has gotten into a rhythm with remote work. But, depending on where you operate, you could have the opportunity to return to work in the office sometime soon.
Do you know how to do so safely and productively?
The silver lining of the pandemic is that it was a key opportunity to improve your business’ processes for adapting to and overcoming challenges. Make sure to reflect on this process so you can make the best of it:
What Changes Did You Make To Work Processes That Should Be Kept?
Whether you plan to continue with remote work or not, if you implemented new practices for time management, communication, or other workplace priorities that helped to boost productivity and engagement, then you should continue with them.
What Changes Did You Make To Work Processes That Should Not Be Kept?
On the other hand, if you found that some new processes or the nature of remote work itself led to delays and lowered productivity, there’s no reason to keep them going.
This is especially important when you’re determining who on your team will continue with remote work. If someone did not thrive in the remote setting, you should bring them back into the office as soon as you can.
Make Sure Your Staff Is Comfortable: First, consider the human element. Employees don’t have the same say as executives making the call to reopen the office, but it’s important to have communication with everyone involved to understand their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Those who work in a high-contact industry, for instance, may have many questions about reopening. For starters, will wearing masks in the office cause problems?
Try to be inclusive of the people who are concerned. There are many health and safety measures you will need to incorporate, including:
Make Sure Your Staff Is Organized: There’s no need to rush back to the office if some work can still be handled remotely. While most jobs can be done from home, you should take a moment to consider what jobs specifically can be managed while outside of the office.
Make Sure Your Staff Is Motivated: Before bringing your entire staff back to the office, have just the managers and team leaders come in to talk about motivating your staff. Celebrate the fact that you can work together again, without putting others at risk or ignoring safety and healthy precautions mentioned above.
While you will undoubtedly want to get back to business, generating sales leads and closing new business, it’s important to recognize that the pandemic will have long-lasting effects. Even if you’re back in the office, it doesn’t mean your prospects are.
You can expect fewer leads and opportunities due to the economic effects of the pandemic as well. Set your expectations appropriately, and where possible, modify your marketing to reflect an understanding of the difficult situation that everyone is in.
While the pandemic may be winding down, that doesn’t mean it’s over or that something similar won’t happen again. The question is: are you ready for a second wave of the pandemic?
Although you may be able to bring your staff into the office at some point, it’s important not to forget all the hard lessons learned during this pandemic. A second wave is a distinct possibility, and so, you need to make sure you have a viable remote work plan in place that can be launched quickly.
Regardless of when you return to the office, and whether it’s your entire staff or just part of it, you have to manage the process carefully. The health of your employees, the security of your data, and the productivity of your business as a whole will be on the line.