Tajana Đulabić, HR and Business Administration Manager Salveo CEE Group at Salveo CEE
For many of us working from home may have seemed impossible. And then came the Pandemic and with stay-at-home restrictions, this suddenly became our reality. Our homes became our offices, classrooms, kindergarten and even gym.
Handling our job tasks while preparing meal for our kids or trying to have online meetings with our team while our dog barks or our child just decided that now it is perfect time to climb and jump on the sofa, moved the barrier between our professional and private life and made our multitasking superpowers reach their full potential.
On the other hand, we spent more time with our families, kids, pets for which we always have so little time. We did not have to bother ourselves with long commuting time or what we are going to wear for work. Suddenly sweatpants, T-Shirts and hoodies became our first-choice work outfit and ponytail became top trend hairstyle for many women.
As stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, more and more people are heading back to the office, and it is time to leave the chaos of working at home that for some of us may be deliberating, but for others may be like leaving shelter, or losing that cosiness and constant closeness to our loved ones.
So, what can we do to make this transition from working at home to the office easier for our team members:
Even though many of people cannot wait to go back to the office, to have coffee, lunch, and a good laugh with their colleagues or just to have break from home time and be able to do all their job tasks in peace, there are also people who feel unsafe and are not so eager to come back.
Our job as organization is to do everything possible for our team members so that they feel safe by implementing hygiene protocols and ensuring all protection equipment such as disinfectant and masks are always available to them.
We should also ensure that social distancing during meetings is possible as well as that each of our office team member have their office or place to work on the safe distance.
If this is impossible due to limiting possibilities of the office space, we can always limit the number of our team members that come to the office and have some of them work from home and others from the office and switch them on weekly basis.
It may happen that some of our team members still feel unsafe to come to the office and need some more time for this transition. If this happens, it is very important that we consider their emotions, show understanding and compassion as well as enable them to work at home as much as possible.
We need to encourage open communication and create safe environment for our team members where they know they can express their emotions and concerns and that they will be heard. Human approach is needed now more than ever, so always keep in mind that a smile, a nice word, kindness, and a question how they are can make a big difference and make them realize that you genuinely care for them.
Working from home allowed many of us to schedule our own hours. Our day may have become a puzzle of time for work, time for play and helping kids with their school tasks, time for preparing lunch and eating with our family and then time for work again in the evening.
We have adapted to this new routine, and it may be difficult or even impossible to revert to the old routine specially for the team members with children, who go to school that now has morning and afternoon shift and the parents must stay with kids until they have their classes or cannot send the kids to kindergarten due to restrictions that may be applied in some nurseries.
That is why is important to show understanding and to offer them flexible working environment and the possibility to stay and work at home when needed.
These times are maybe not the best to gather everyone into office space and have celebrations, joint lunches, or arrange Team buildings or Family days, but there are other options to build up team morale and connections.
We are social beings, and for our wellbeing, connections are equally important as good nutrition and exercise.
We can organize Virtual Pub quiz or Book Club, Online Coffee to specific topic that can boost teamwork or just casual coffee with random picked team members with whom we otherwise would not have that much opportunity to be in touch with.
Going to the gym may be challenging but setting joint trainings or guided relaxations in virtual world among colleagues will show them that organization cares for their health and can build even deeper connections.
Using our imagination, we can find creative ways to boost team morale – and just keep in mind that FUN is something that always works and what we all need these days.
Building trust is ongoing journey which contains many steps. In these uncertain times it is important to create the safest possible environment in which team members feel that their organizations genuinely care for them and support them.
A transparent and open two-way communication about the situation, results and challenges on regular basis will help create emotional and financial trust, and the people will feel that they are in safe hands and led in the good direction.
They will be even more committed to the long-term future of the organization and will show passion and engagement about reaching the joint goal – organization’s success on the market.
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