The importance of communication in creating a return-to-office plan cannot be overstated; however, one-way communication -- employer to employee -- does not guarantee that the transition will be a smooth one. Collaboration with fellow leaders and employees throughout the entire return-to-office process is vital to the smooth, efficient success of return-to-office plans. Collaboration can be a challenge, though, so here are three tips to keep your team on track while working together on a return-to-office plan.
#1 Give everyone a voice.
If you’re envisioning a chaotic office meeting with employees talking over each other, don’t worry! Giving each employee a voice does not require a shouting match. Instead, when drafting a return-to-office plan, try sharing the tentative plan via email and inviting written feedback. Or, send out a survey and let each team member vote on their preferences. Think of creative ways to let your employees’ opinions be heard!
#2 Consider others’ challenges.
When creating a return-to-office plan, it can be tempting to create a plan that fits well with your lifestyle and preferences. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but to transition smoothly, you’ll need to consider factors that may affect your team but not you directly. For example, both you and your team members might have children, but you’ll face considerably different challenges in scheduling for a middle schooler versus a toddler. Try to speak to team members who are of different age, gender, and life stage than you in order to fully take into account the challenges your employees might face with your return-to-office plan.
#3 Stay flexible
This tip might be the most difficult one! Even if you feel like your return-to-office plan has been worked out to perfection, there’s always a chance it will need to be altered in the future. That’s okay! Make a decision now to stay flexible, and as you begin to execute the return-to-office transition, be willing to make changes as necessary. A flexible employer produces happier employees!