Apr 23, 2021
Written by: Mark Hirschfeld, VP, Consulting Services
(View Author Bio)
There is a lot of work to be done to help employees transition from makeshift workstations in the dining room and on the ironing board back into the workspaces they left over a year ago. A thoughtful, phased approach to this transition leveraging the best of the behavioral sciences will increase your chances of success.Scroll Down
We’re getting more announcements about employees returning to workplaces that have been largely empty since the beginning of the pandemic. Some employers may return employees full time, while in other cases hybrid work schedules are being considered.
There is excitement and hope as we move past the worst of the pandemic but the transition will require thoughtful planning and an understanding of what employees will be experiencing in order to make this transition as positive, safe and engaging as possible.
Our academic partner, Brad Shuck, Ph.D. of the University of Louisville, has outlined a thoughtful plan to help leaders navigate this transition back to work using a “Four R’s” approach:
For the Resetting phase, leaders will need to think about the “new normal”, which may be very different from how work was done and organized in the past. In the Restarting phase, employees will be welcomed into the new era of work, which may include returning to a physical location full or part time. Communicating expectations about the restart will be critical. Not everything will go to plan with the restart so there will be a Recalibrating phase that will need to be considered. This recalibration must occur because of internal issues and challenges that arise, but also because of emerging needs or external forces we didn’t clearly understand. Finally, each organization will always be Reinventing, even after return to work is in full swing. One leader recently shared they had learned ways of more effectively transferring critical knowledge and skills to a highly distributed audience in ways that were just as effective and less costly. He said: “We had to reinvent ourselves because of the pandemic and I hope one of the lessons we take from this experience is we can, if necessary, be more innovative and responsive than we thought.”
At BI WORLDWIDE, we think a lot about how we can help companies manage transitions such as this that many, ourselves included, are working toward later this year. It will require employees to do things that are new or, on some cases, do things they haven’t done in a while. How do we inspire people to work through these transitions? Here are six evidence-based ideas to consider:
There is a lot of work to be done to help employees transition from makeshift workstations in the dining room and on the ironing board back into the workspaces they left over a year ago. A thoughtful, phased approach to this transition leveraging the best of the behavioral sciences will increase your chances of success.