With a lot of employees and their employers focusing on a return to the office, we anticipate that managing this change process will be a big task. Last year millions of people were thrown into a new way of working and had to adapt to working remotely with animals, partners and children being thrown into the daily mix at home. In addition, taking on the challenge of virtual meetings and being remote from colleagues threw up plenty of challenges for employees.
Now we are looking to get back in the office and working more collaboratively with our colleagues, have we forgotten how to do this successfully or is it like riding a bike; you never forget? Only time will tell for sure, but there are things that businesses can do to support individuals returning, ensuring that they get back to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible and harmony is restored.
Holding regular one to one meetings and discussing how they may cope with the return will help identify any issues. One thing that may come up is time management. Whilst working at home, many employees took advantage having a relaxed working environment. Employers, taking into consideration the responsibilities of home-schooling into account, often relaxed the working day allowing employees more freedom. Whilst in many cases, the return to the office will be on an agile basis with home working still playing a key part, to support business recovery post pandemic, businesses will be expecting employees to step up.
Whilst general performance may have been largely unaffected, the soft skills that employees require to be successful, may have been impacted during this period of time. Time management and the ability to prioritise is an essential skill where an employee has deadlines to meet.
Communication methods were adapted during the pandemic to reflect the remote nature of working. This had led to heavier email reliance rather than speaking across desks to ask a colleague a question. In addition to this, Microsoft Teams and other virtual meeting platforms were heavily relied upon to conduct meetings. Getting back to the office will mean adapting back to face to face communication. Businesses will need to ensure that staff conduct themselves professionally to avoid unnecessary conflict or poor communication.
These are just a couple of soft skills that may be impacted due to the expected return to work. Businesses should ensure staff are equipped to deal with the change and provide support as necessary. One way of doing this is to upskill in these out of practice soft skill areas.
The People Projects Team at Napthens have launched a new range of training courses designed to tackle these areas specifically. If you want to upskill your management team from scratch or simply offer a refresher we can support you. Our new range of courses will give your team the boost they need to provide optimum performance and support for your employees. Delivered face to face or remotely we can take the pain out of retuning back to the office.