Some employees can’t wait to get back to the office.
For employees around the world, the time has come to return to the office. Countless people have been working from home for a very long time. Some of those people are understandably excited about getting back into a more normal routine.
Employees have missed the camaraderie that naturally occurs within a workplace environment. Numerous studies report that isolation and loneliness are the biggest drawbacks of working from home. The desire to feel a sense of belonging and community is fulfilled by being together in the workplace and many can’t wait to get back.
While some employees claim they were more productive at home, others had a different experience. This was especially true of working parents. With the majority of children learning from home for at least part of 2020, trying to stay focused on work while helping kids manage the ups and downs of virtual learning was a major challenge. For some, productivity understandably suffered. Getting back to the workplace means removing the distractions that come with combining work and home.
Others would rather stay at home.
A return to the office brings a very different reaction to another large segment of the workforce. For many, working from home has brought unexpected benefits, some of which employees don’t want to give up.
For some parents, not spending time traveling to and from work resulted in more family dinners and the opportunity to connect throughout the day. Giving up this improved work-life balance may feel like too big of a sacrifice now.
Being asked to give up a remote working arrangement is even driving many employees to quit. A recent Bloomberg Wealth article provided eye-opening statistics. Of 1,000 people surveyed, 39% would consider quitting if their employers did not allow remote work flexibility. For younger workers – millennials and Gen-Z – that number rose to 49%.
Organizations and the leaders within them have a major task ahead of them. The handling of the return to the workplace could have a dramatic impact on employee satisfaction and a company’s ability to retain employees.
How can leaders support employees as they return to work?
Leaders need to show empathy. Each team member’s pandemic experience has been unique. Some have suffered terrible losses – loved ones who have died, marriages that have failed, significant losses of income. Others are dealing with anxiety and real fear about the possible effects returning to work may have on their health. There may be stresses involved with finding reliable childcare or managing a child’s school schedule that remains unpredictable. Empathy will be key.
Employees need to be reminded they have a purpose. Their jobs have a purpose. And they – and the work they do – matter. Leaders need to find ways to reinforce the value they have for their employees both as individuals and as vital members of the team and wider organization. Remind them that they matter. And their work matters.
Connections have been lost. Leaders need to create an environment that nurtures beneficial relationships among team members. Many felt isolated during their time working from home – take steps to foster strong working relationships and friendships. Recognize the power of strong relationships in the workplace and acknowledge when those relationships contribute to the team’s success.
Leaders need support and strategies to help their teams through this transition successfully.
Organizations must provide their leaders with tools and strategies to help them bring their teams back successfully. Equipping and empowering leaders with tools, tactics, and strategies will help retain and encourage employees and drive results.
Consider hosting an event and bringing in a speaker who is an expert in these very areas. At Michelle Joyce Speakers, we represent some of the very best. Read on to learn about two of our keynote speakers whose programs effectively answer the question leaders at every level of an organization must be ready to answer: “We’re all back in the office. Now what?”
Shasta Nelson – The Business of Friendship
A keynote speaker, author, and leading expert on the science of connected leadership and healthy relationships at work, Shasta shares her passion for and deep knowledge of the power of friendship.
As Shasta reveals how meaningful friendships at work are effective solutions for employee retention, increased engagement, customer service, and increased revenue, audience members will:
- Discover the latest research on how relationships at work impact employee engagement and retention.
- Identify the three requirements of all healthy relationships and how they work together in our organizations.
- Decide which of the three requirements would make the biggest positive difference in your organizational culture.
Leaders at all levels of an organization will benefit from Shasta’s expertise as they discover the impact of an investment in The Business of Friendship.
Joey Coleman – Never Lose an Employee Again
For nearly twenty years, Joey has helped organizations retain their best customers and turn them into raving fans. In this program, Joey takes his First 100 Days® methodology and applies it to help organizations improve their employee experience. Organizations learn how to create remarkable experiences in an employee’s first 100 days – resulting in engaged, long-term employees.
In an entertaining and actionable presentation, Joey gives audience members the tools they need to transform employees into powerful advocates for their brand. Organizations will learn:
- How to maximize the beginning of the employee lifecycle to increase engagement and loyalty
- How to reduce employee churn and increase overall profits
- How to identify the varied journeys your different employees have and then enhance them
Leaders within any organization will benefit from a proven road map for creating remarkable experiences that turn new hires into committed, engaged team members.
Lead with empathy and an emphasis on relationships.
Returning to the workplace is going to be different for each individual. Organizations need to make leading with empathy and understanding a priority in order to retain team members and attract new employees.
Take time to remind team members of their purpose and the importance of their role within the organization. Recognize the importance and incredible impact of connections and friendships at work. Leading with empathy and a focus on nurturing relationships will help employees reacclimate to the workplace. They’ll be more engaged, more productive, and happier.
There is so much to unpack and consider when thinking about what it means to go back to the workplace that it wouldn’t all fit into one blog post. Click here to read the first post in this two-part series.