Returning to the office – the way forward

18 November 2020 Tenaka

As many countries enter their Covid-19 second wave, it’s clear that remote work features heavily in many businesses’ future plans. But we don’t believe this spells the end of the traditional office or the 9 to 5. Even while some global mega-companies are making Work From Home (WFH) a permanent reality, others are planning a hybrid method. Yet others intend to bring either part of, or all of their workforce back into the office full time.

While we at Tenaka have embraced a fully remote future, we understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Whatever your business chooses to implement, however, you will need to take a fresh new look at your employee relationships. Many formerly office-bound people have been working remotely for several months now. Some love it, some don’t, and it’s important for you to know this. If 80% of your employees are desperate to keep working remotely, you may be in for a challenge asking them to return to their desks.

Whether you’re considering a hybrid, fully in-office or fully remote model, you need to understand how your employees’ lives have been affected. You need to know what they want, how they feel they work best. Now is the absolute ideal time, in fact, to get employee input on how the new normal should look. But, practically speaking, how do you do that? Here are a few tips.

1 – Employee engagement

Honestly, this should be the only point on your list. Talk to your employees and find out how they feel. Ask them what they want. There are so many really great ways to engage with your employees, especially if it isn’t practical to do one-on-one interviews. Try an employee survey to find out where they are emotionally, and how they would like to work going forward. If it is practical, have those video calls. Listen to what the people who keep your business running have to say.

2 – Develop a new employee value proposition (EVP)

So many of the companies we work with have discovered the value of a good EVP. However, even if you’ve had one in place for years, it really needs updating now. Things have changed to an unprecedented level, and we need to acknowledge and accept this. If you need help developing a new EVP, check out our quick guide here.

3 – Listen to the science

We’re not just talking medical science here, although that is important. We’re talking about the data science, the part that talks about employee happiness and productivity. In the pre-COVID normal, productivity often happened at the expense of employee wellbeing. We have a chance now to shape the new normal into a workplace that is happier and kinder. By fostering a work culture that makes employees happy, regardless of where they are, you are going to boost productivity, guaranteed.

We do need to take a moment to acknowledge that this pandemic has significantly impacted every aspect of life. Whichever model you choose for your business going forward needs to account for the way employees have changed in the last several months. Their priorities have shifted, the way they work has adjusted, their needs are different. Take the time to engage with your humans.

At Tenaka, we are deeply committed to good communications. That’s why we developed the data-free platform for employee communications. It makes getting in touch with your remote employees easier, even when they don’t have data. If you have the remote communication thing waxed, but you need assistance to engage your employees again for whatever the new normal looks like, give us a shout – we have a few ideas

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