With many businesses and organisations returning to a new level of business as usual as staff and teams are returning to the workplace. To be clear, this is not returning to work, this is returning to the workPLACE.
There’s an underling questions of; 'What will that mean?' 'How do I talk to my staff about this?'
There is no blueprint for this specific scenario. There is no right or wrong way. This is new for everyone. There are however some steps you can take to help your teams transition to the workplace, and then reassess what it is that now defines your new business as (un)usual.
1. Talk to your staff, talk to you teams.
You’re not a mind reader, and neither are your staff. ASK what they’re thinking and feeling about returning to the office, what are their concerns, what are their fears, what are they excited about, what are they looking forward to. Lean into the uncomfortable conversations to really understand where everyone is at. Open, honest and frank conversations are key to progress.
Leaders often have this misconception that they need to know everything, or at least know the answer to everything. That’s not the case. Use the resources you have around you for dynamic thinking and discussion. Now is a wonderful time to double down on collaboration. As is always the way; whenever there is change, there’s new opportunity. Invite your teams to collaborate on ideas to create a great working environment.
3. Be open
Open to ideas that are outside-the-box, outside of your organisations norm, and outside of industry norms. The standard 9-5 workday is getting a shakeup. There’s a wonderful opportunity to be trailblazers in adapting to a new way of working, that allows flexibility and productivity.
4. Plan, plan, plan
‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, or so the saying goes. What’s your staggered return to the workplace plan? What’s your phase 2 of that plan? What does your communication plan look like during this period of transition and change? What’s your plan for resistance to the new ways of working? Who’s buy-in do you need to make these changes happen.
5. Over communicate
When you’re sick of saying it, your communication is finally cutting through. Leaders have this idea that they’re listened to 100%, 100% of the time. Unfortunately, our brains can only absorb so much information at one time. For an organisation led directive, it’s best if the communication comes from a key stakeholder (to communicate the WHY). For team specific communication, it’s best to come from a direct leader (to communicate the WIIFM, what’s in it for me).
Returning to the workplace doesn’t have to be scary, the more we’re open honest and frank with the current climate and situation, the more we’re able to have discussions that lead to real progress.
Ally Nitschke is a Leadership Coach, Speaker and Courageous Conversations specialist, She has been working as a leader and with leaders for over 15 years. She is on a mission to change the way we communicate at work, to lean into those uncomfortable conversations and lead with courage. Ally delivers Courageous Conversations workshops, Courageous Leadership programs, coaching and keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.