Now there is light at the end of the tunnel for COVID-19 restrictions, many leaders are gearing up to welcome back their workforce. But after months of working from home or working partial weeks, how do you welcome your team back…and get them back into the swing of things?
Don’t expect them to be fully focused straight away.
Many employees are now used to taking breaks when they feel like it, taking longer lunch breaks and stopping mid task to pat the dog. It’s not that they’ve forgotten how to be focused, it’s just that they have developed different habits, as we all know, habits can be hard to break. That doesn’t mean you should let them off the hook. What it means is that you need to be aware of this and be prepared to retrain them.
Reenergising through engagement
When employees are engaged they are passionate, energetic, and committed. By taking the time to retrain your employees, you help them engage fully in their work through meaning and connection. Ways in which you can help facilitate this include:
- Have an open door policy
- Encourage staff to speak up
- Clarify goals and responsibilities
- Reward employees for a job well done
- Celebrate accomplishments, both individual and team
- Encourage staff to give each other recognition
Fun and socialising
- Organise games and happy hours
- Bring in treats and organise team lunches
- Encourage employees to make their workspaces unique and interesting
- Encourage staff to use their natural talents
- Be a coach and/or mentor
- Offer education and training opportunities
The best way to engage employees is through leveraging their strengths. Employees need to be able to do what they do best. The only way they can do this is if they are aware of their strengths and how they can apply them. Furthermore, you need to build the coaching skills of your leadership team regarding identifying employee strengths, and how to use these strengths for success. Moreover, people want to feel they are performing well. Leaders who focus on the strengths of their employees create an environment that allows their staff to do this.
Transitioning back to the office will require thought and planning. It will also call for regular conversations around teamwork and goals. Approach employee engagement in a way that is simple, clear and involves your employees. If you do, you’ll not only have an engaged workforce, you’ll have an energised one too.