As more people have started to return to the office, Wundamail HQ thought it was only appropriate to lend our team management expertise to anyone looking for a little inspiration with getting back to work.
Many employees might, understandably, be feeling anxious about the return to the office, following a complete shift in working patterns over the past six months. Yet some might simply not want to return at all, advocating for a more flexible work lifestyle than Pre-Covid times. It’s absolutely imperative to get this shift in working culture right for your company and your employees, for an abundance of reasons. The primary one being, businesses want their teams to bring positivity and enthusiasm into work, as happy workers are reportedly 13% more productive when they feel well supported in the workplace. Productivity could be difficult to achieve if employees feel neglected in this crucial decision-making, which could lead to an increase in staff turnover or an unproductive team - two scenarios which companies should avoid in the current climate. But don’t panic, Team Wundamail is here to help you and your team make the right decisions.
The Work Revolution Has Arrived
While it’s not happened under positive circumstances, team Wundamail think the work revolution has finally arrived and is here to stay. 50 of the UK’s biggest firms recently announced the closure of their once-loved office blocks for the foreseeable future, and we’re likely to see more businesses follow in the same footsteps. This isn’t because the shared workspace is now futile, but businesses are now thinking about where their money is best spent and where the best work is produced - and latest research reveals that employees benefit from having time to work from home. Flexibility is the new buzzword in the corporate world and employees aren’t going to settle for less. Why? Because many companies are adapting to their employees needs by offering new flexible working schedules.
And this is essentially what Wundamail HQ strongly recommends for your team, based on our first-hand, recent experience. So far, we’re enjoying the transition.
A Semi-remote Environment
Team Wundamail are currently predominantly remote, but we’ve started making our way back into the office for collaborative work. As a team, we really missed the face-to-face interaction and having the option to work in a different space, as sad as it is to leave furry friends behind at home. Some elements of work are slower to achieve when employees are battling with home distractions and internet buffers, which is why having an opportunity to meet in person, bounce off each-other creatively and ultimately socialise, is extremely healthy for employee engagement and individual career progression. That being said, the remote period has highlighted the key to productivity for us as a team. Some work, such as developing, creative writing or creating a project board, requires “deep work” - which involves a long period of uninterrupted time. We really enjoy utilising our flexible working pattern around these tasks which require solitary thought, therefore we recommend organising schedules based around what needs to be individually achieved versus what needs to be done as a team.
This can easily be organised through good communication. As we’re still predominantly remote, our organisation of the working week happens remotely too. Simply plan which days, or hours, you think employees would benefit from being in-office, and let employees plan their working week accordingly. And of course, make sure to keep each-other in the loop. Naturally, this could differ from role to role, as some employees might need, or want, more office hours, in which case, let them go in. However if an employee genuinely needs a remote environment to enhance concentration, as their manager, you should definitely encourage and facilitate this.
Inclusive Decision Making
The key to our successful transition however, was through our inclusive decision making. We strongly believe employees should be at the heart of the decision-making process which is why we used our own software to ask the fundamental question - “How would you like to work in the future?”. This gave all members of the team the chance to voice their thoughts on one platform, which was then circulated for all to see. We wanted our team to feel supported in this important switch in order to get the best out of everyone. And unless your team has shown drastic results over the remote period, we strongly advise this approach. The remote period has given managers no choice but to trust their teams, and now this has been built, it should be easy to continue pursuing.
Set-up the Physical Workspace
Health and safety obviously remain paramount for employees returning and therefore government guidelines must be adhered to in the shared workspace. If an employee genuinely feels uncomfortable in the office environment, or feels procedures are a bit sloppy, they’re not going to achieve their best work and will naturally vouch for complete remote working.
Depending on the size of your teams, you might want to organise a staggered approach in returning to the office, should your team want to return. Team Wundamail are a relatively small team, so we’ve managed to get back to our office safely through implementing a socially distanced space, such as spreading people out around the office. While it feels a little strange to not be sat near each-other, it still allows for conversation without straining any vocal chords.
Likewise, we’ve implemented a sanitisation station for employees to wipe down their desks and regularly sanitise their hands, while also deciding to leave windows and doors open in the day to increase ventilation around the room and prevent employees from touching door handles unnecessarily. Our team has also been using the staggered approach when coming into the office, as some of us rely on public transport to get into the city centre. Giving your team the flexibility to arrive safely into work supports them individually and also minimises further risk in the shared workspace, as a busy train journey could heighten the risk of the virus spreading into the office.
Whether employees have enjoyed the remote working period or not, we can use the experience to our advantage and adapt to a new, modern way of working - one which offers a flexible lifestyle, supports employees and heightens productivity for all.
Wundamail’s team management software can help employees stay in the loop wherever they’re working - why not try it today?