Planning the Home Office to Workplace Transition

A well-thought out and well-executed change management plan is key for an intervention to be successful.

I like to use the analogy of moving to a new house. Imagine if you made this decision on your own, without consulting your spouse and your children? You will get a lot of resistance, yes? They were not included in the decision or perhaps you have a history of making decisions which were not well planned. This resulted in a fail and the memory remained with your family.

Well, it is the same for any organisation, especially now as employees return to the workplace – whether it is on a full-time basis or using the hybrid model.

If you look around, you will realise that the majority of leaders resist the concept of remote work. Well, it was a rude awakening for these leaders when COVID-19 left with them no choice but to adopt remote working, to make it work for the organisation and the employees who needed the employer’s support during this time.

Now, the disruption continues as employees return to the workplace with some exceedingly poor planning by leaders.

As a leader you want to keep productivity at a high, which you can only do when you consider what works best for the employee and the company. Here are some things to consider.

Employees are affected by:

  • loss in team cohesion,
  • managing their children at home as some schools have also adopted a hybrid model and
  • planning how to incorporate going back to work and going back to school.

Some companies have applied a rotational schedule. If this schedule has an employee returning to the office on a Monday, working remotely on a Tuesday and back to the office on a Wednesday, this is disruptive. Other companies have adopted the schedule of one week in the office and one week working remotely. The success rate with this approach is more effective and is yielding some satisfying results for everyone.

Why, you ask?

  1. Employees were included in the brainstorming discussions to see what will work.
  2. Leaders got to hear rationale that they had never considered.
  3. It gives employees an opportunity to plan around:
    a) Meals – it is a lot safer to take lunch from home
    b) Wardrobe – office and remote
    c) Transport for the employees and their school-going children
    d) Traffic
  4. Peace of mind that the office environment is COVID-19 compliant.
  5. Clear guidance and managing expectations promoting sustainability. These may even correct issues relating to productivity that were present before COVID-19.

So, go ahead and put on your compassionate leader hat and make sure that whatever you do leaves a positive mark on your employees. You are impacting their lives and the lives of those around them.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”
Martin Luther King Jr.

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