Addressing The “New Normal” At Work: Tips for Businesses as Employees Make Their Way Back into the Office

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CCI - Living Wall - Return to Office Post Covid
Image via CCI.
CCI's Living Wall - Returning to the office post COVID-19.
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Like many businesses who shifted to work from home during the pandemic, Montgomery County-based talent management and human resource consulting firm CCI Consulting has recently returned to their offices as well.

In doing so, the firm, led by CEO and Owner Sharon Imperiale, has begun implementing the very same practices that they have been guiding their clients through during this time when many businesses have begun welcoming employees back to their workplace.

As many employees find themselves re-entering the office, new questions have arisen that many companies are addressing.

Trending topics include everything from how to maintain a work-life balance that many found when working from home, to what precautions their company is taking to ensure health and safety, as well as what types of flexibility their organization is willing to allow now that many organizations are offering a hybrid model?

CCI Consulting CEO and Owner Sharon Imperiale

“These are all questions that we are assisting our clients with daily as they bring their employees back,” said Imperiale.

We’ve come up with 5 tips to live by as you lead your company through this transition back into the office:

  1. Communicate Consistently and Clearly – Leaders need to paint a compelling picture of the future and let employees know what’s happening, why, what’s changing, what’s not, what’s next, and what you need from them.
  1. Listen – Provide opportunities for people to share feedback. Listen and seek to understand. Acknowledge concerns. Solicit input and ideas.
  1. Be Flexible – Everyone in the organization is experiencing the pandemic differently and as we move forward, each employee has different needs and expectations. This phenomenon makes crafting the “new normal” enormously complicated. In this environment, providing appropriate flexibility works better than a command-and-control approach.  
  1. Provide Focus and Attend to the Basics – Although leaders cannot offer certainty in the midst of uncertainty, they can offer focus. Now is the time to focus, above all, on the mission.  Now is the time to get people focused, above all, on the customer.
  1. Make it Fun – Changing habits and expectations is hard. It means stress and uncertainty. Successful change is seldom brought about by people who approach it in a spirit of grim determination. Find ways to create enthusiasm, celebrate success, and foster some fun. 

Just as they suggest to their clients, Imperiale believes that it is always important to take a “human” approach to the process by ensuring employees feel comfortable and safe while also celebrating the ability to be back with fellow colleagues and friends.

When CCI re-opened their offices in June, they encouraged employees to share their feelings about returning to the office by creating a “Memory Wall” of post-it notes to share what everyone “loved and missed” from the past 15 months.

The notes included everything from “happy to have hallway conversations again” to “I will never take getting a haircut for granted again!”

Many of us can certainly relate. “It’s a time of transition for many employees as we return to our offices and we hope these tips ensure a positive reentry for your organization,” said Imperiale.

Interested In Learning More About How to Guide Your Employees Back Into The Office?

If your organization could benefit from additional advice from an HR Specialist, contact CCI Consulting at 1.800.214.7537 to start the conversation today.

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