How to Re-Onboard Employees into the Office Space

For the last couple of years, employees have been getting comfortable with remote workspaces and understanding how to use and control the new flexibility in their work schedules and locations. There’s no doubt that the pandemic did change the world. Now that working from home is not completely permanent, the “new normal” is shifting towards a hybrid model where employees can have the flexibility of working from home as well as working from the office space in person. According to McKinsey & Company, “the new model promises greater access to talent, increased productivity for individuals and small teams, lower costs, more individual flexibility, and improved employee experiences.” Let’s say, your employees choose to go back to the office and work from there. After working from home for so long, there would obviously be so many questions running through their minds. Everyone has become so used to seeing their teammates and colleagues through video calls, that it makes them wonder what it will be like to see each other in person. This blog will talk about how you can re-onboard your employees into the office space, easily and smoothly.

Be Empathetic

Stepping out of your comfort zone takes a lot of courage. Coming back may be a breeze for some people, but not for everyone. According to the Harvard Business Review, you should “make an extra effort to help these employees feel particularly welcome as if it’s their first day at the office — because it is!” For a lot of employees, entering the office after working from home for so long can be overwhelming. Creating an encouraging, supportive, and positive environment will allow them to feel less nervous about coming back to work. Employees need to feel like coming back to work was the right decision. Adaptability is not an easy skill to acquire. Communicating with your employees to figure out how to make them feel comfortable in the workplace will not only let you connect with them but also build on those connections, resulting in  more stable professional relationships.

Create a Buddy System

According to Harvard Business Review, “creating a buddy system can increase employee productivity and satisfaction.” Pairing remote employees with tenured employees as “buddies” or “mentors” will allow the remote employees to get used to the office environment again and learn the ropes with more enthusiasm, as compared to adapting to the office space alone. The buddy system should ideally be two employees being paired. The Harvard Business Review suggests that this system can be “a key source of support for remote hires, helping them to navigate new dynamics once they are back at the office, even if they only return onsite a few days a week.” The goal of these buddies is for them to be in sync with one another and to have a clear understanding of what they wish to achieve both as working individuals and together as teammates.

Ensure Effective Communication

Clear and transparent communication is key to keeping your workplace relationships stable and professional. During the pandemic, we relied on methods of technology, such as video calls, emails, and instant messages to convey our messages. According to Indeed, “the way we work correlates to the way we communicate.” Now that things are re-normalizing, workplaces can rely on pre-pandemic communication methods again – verbal dialogue, body language, facial expressions, written memos, and notes. The goal is to stay consistent in your communication, especially when delivering instructions during the onboarding process. The re-boarding process should be treated as if an employee is joining the organization for the very first time. Give them room to ask any questions they need to, even if they happen to be simple “yes” or “no” questions. And make sure that any frequently asked questions are addressed by easily available signage and resources for all employees to reference.

Create a Positive Work Environment

Work is not always unicorns and rainbows. Employees want to feel happy and excited about logging into work every day. When it comes to their digital and physical workspaces, they need the tools to be able to accomplish their daily work and resolve any conflicts or obstacles that might arise. Effectively, this comes down to building a positive working environment. No doubt, positive vibes are infectious. A positive work environment includes practicing gratitude and recognition, supporting fellow teammates during crunch times, and, most importantly, treating one another with respect. Practicing these qualities on a daily basis will make your organization a wonderful place to work. All of these qualities combined will result in a great company culture. Making sure your company values align with this support for a positive work environment will help your employees see that your organization really cares.

Have Face-to-Face Introductions

During the pandemic, employees didn’t have the chance to meet their teammates and colleagues in person. Now that a hybrid system is slowly becoming the “new normal”, the opportunity has finally arrived. Face-to-face introductions give people a chance to put a face to a name. There’s nothing more upsetting than employees feeling lonely and disconnected from their workload due to zero connections with their colleagues. In-person interactions can help employees feel motivated to come back to work. Just having a sense of human connection will allow employees to get excited about seeing the teammates that they haven’t seen in such a long time.

Gauging Re-Onboarding with Employee Experience

Coming back after a long period of working from home is obviously not easy. Employees need surefire affirmations that it’s worth the commute. PxidaEX is a great way for you to connect with them prior to their re-onboarding to figure out what they need for them to feel welcome into the office space again. With our variety of survey templates, from our expert-designed ones, focused on topics such as company culture, to our proprietary What Matters Most template which digs deeper to get employee feedback, you can help your organization be the best place to work so that your employees can come back with ease. Sign up for a free trial today!