Additional Team Building Resources

Jan 25, 2022

Back To The Office After COVID | Prepping Your Team

Anecia Ascalon

Team Building Expert

During an unpredictable pandemic, companies across the country had to adjust their work practices. The term conference call soon applied to all conversations, important meetings were held over Zoom, and appropriate workwear included sweatpants.

The initial transition was unexpected and filled with uncertainty. However, after a year of adaptation, many have adjusted to the work-from-home corporate format.

Woman working at home on a tablet

5 Tips For A Seamless Transition Back To The Office After Covid

If your organization is returning back to its normal, in-office structure, you can help prepare your team and make it a positive, seamless experience for everyone! Even if your company has already returned to full-time work, it’s never too late to implement these practices and tips to your team.

Office common area after covid

1. Create A Timeline

Teams appreciate clear and consistent communication. Giving your team an idea of when exactly they will be expected to return to the office full-time can help them in various ways. Pragmatically, team members who have been able to forgo child or pet care for the past year can make the necessary arrangements to get those started again. Furthermore, employees can mentally prepare to go back to their old, and potentially more stressful, routines. Keeping your team in the loop will help them feel confident that their company is prepared, organized, and cares about their well-being! 

We also recommend a gradual return. No one wants a life change sprung on them unexpectedly. That’s what happened with COVID in the first place! Instead, try transitioning by starting with a few days a week. You should also let employees know ahead of time, preferably a month in advance if possible. This way, people have time to make adjustments and such.

People working at communal table

2. Facilitate Open Communication

Something as simple as telling employees that they are welcome to voice their concerns goes a long way. Many remote workers often feel disconnected and unheard because of the distance. It’s just the nature of the situation. Letting team members know that their thoughts and opinions are valuable to the company contributes to better overall job satisfaction and harder effort at work! Communicate about plans going forward, any new office rules, the tentative schedule for re-opening, anything else that would be relevant to your company.

We suggest sending out an anonymous survey prior to returning to the office in order to determine where people are at and read their suggestions. The more concerns you can address and relevant information you can give the team about plans going back after COVID, the more confident they will feel returning to in-person work!

People in boardroom around conference table

3. Utilize Ice Breakers

Going back to the office after COVID, your team may be a little rusty on the water cooler small talk. Feel free to help them out and bring back the friendly chemistry with some ice breaker activities! Ice breakers don’t always have to be literal ice breaker questions. You can also use simple, but effective, games or email chains. Quick ice breakers can also help loosen everyone up at the beginning of meetings!

No matter what kind of ice breaker activity you choose, they serve as a fun, low-pressure way to help people develop a rapport with each other and become more comfortable together going back after COVID.

four people at a table with coffee talking and smiling while looking at a laptop and a tablet

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4. Generate Excitement

Make going back to the office something to celebrate! As a leader, it’s imperative you foster an environment where your team feels excited to be together again, rather than dreading having to be in the office. Try hosting lunch for the team on the first day back in the office after COVID and inviting employees to have fun together again. During lunch is also a great time to go over any important company news or updates that you may need to share. 

Another way to create excitement when your team returns back to the office after COVID is to present something new! Perhaps there are a few office renovations your company never got around to. Now’s the time! A new and improved office is just another reason to celebrate!

a large office space with people seated at desks working on computers

5. Prioritize Team Building

We definitely understand the value of team building, especially during a transitional period. Scheduling a few team building activities at the beginning of your new full time schedule is definitely worth it! Participating in an activity, like a virtual escape room, together will assist your team with their communication skills, boost their morale, and help them feel happy to be part of a caring company.

Best Of Luck To Your Team As You Make The Transition Back To The Office After COVID!

Whether you’ve already returned full-time to the office, are in a hybrid situation, or are still working remotely, creating a strong team should always be a top priority!

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