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How to re-engage employees as they return to the office post pandemic

As full-time remote working comes to an end, returning to the office can be a daunting prospect for many. Keeping employees engaged and motivated will be a key challenge for businesses in 2022.

HR specialists Breedon Consulting have received an influx of questions from employers looking for advice on how to re-engage employees as they venture back to the workplace post-pandemic.

Employers must reconsider how to re-engage staff to help prevent high staff turnover, competition poaching employees, high levels of absence and reduced productivity.

Managing director of Breedon Consulting, Nicki Robson, said:

“Reintroducing employees who have been used to working at home brings with it a new set of challenges.”

“As workers have become accustomed to a different environment its extremely important to engage with them effectively on return to the workplace – the impact of this transition can be reduced by following our one-to-one advice.”

According to Gallup, 202% of companies with engaged employees outperform those without therefore, the team have outlined five key areas that businesses can focus upon to ensure staff remain confident and thrive in 2022.

  1. Communicate the overall business strategy    

It’s vital that on return to the workplace staff understand your business position and strategy clearly following the impact of Covid-19. It can be a worrying time for employees, with questions around how the business is performing and in turn how that may affect their position and flexibility.

Be transparent, effectively communicate any changes and share any future business plans or goals. This will directly correspond to how their role adds value within the wider commercial setting and allow the employee to feel respected and involved.

  1. Relay role expectations and opportunities for progression    

Outline clear responsibilities to staff, monthly expectations, and if appropriate, re-communicate clear KPIs – allowing performance to be measured effectively by both the business and individual.

Communicate any career opportunities and consider providing training. This should help to re- establish motivation, clarity and confidence within the workplace.

  1. Have fun    

After such a long period, it can be a daunting prospect for employees to accustom themselves to a sociable office environment and work alongside colleagues again. Putting together a calendar of activities and events will aid an employee’s adjustment.

Think about activities that will unite your team – perhaps a common interest such as a Friday cake club or a team day out. It will help boost team morale and can be a great incentive for employees to socialise and talk about things other than work.

  1. Create a safe space to share 

Many employees have become accustomed to the benefits of working from home such less commuting time and more autonomy, therefore staff will require levels of flexibility and support returning to the workplace. Creating a safe space for employees to share any concerns or needs they may have, will be essential in 2022.

Consider sending out anonymous surveys or creating a staff forum where workers feel able to share their worries.

  1. Adapt and update the working environment    

Adapting to sitting at a desk daily when it’s become a norm to work from the comfort of your sofa could encourage a shift in how we perceive the office environment. Consider adding a ‘breakout’ area for individuals to work on laptops and ensure there is a space to eat lunch away from their desk. Factors such as increased interruptions and noise could be unsettling, so provide quiet areas for working. Also consider allowing employees to wear headphones if this wasn’t in your policy previously.

Breedon Consulting is offering free 15-minute consultations for employers to talk about how best to deal with re-engaging employees back into the workplace.  

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