Strategies for the new normal workplace
As organizations around the world head back to offices and in-person work, questions linger about continued safety and the lasting impacts of the past few months. Business leaders face the challenge of shifting effectively and communicating critical information such as new safety practices and workflows.
They also have a huge opportunity to make this return a fresh start by reinventing aspects of their brand and culture through a commitment to safety and adaptability. Welcome back employees and customers while building confidence and setting expectations for the new normal. Here is what that might look like:
Navigating a safe transition
Many U.S. businesses moved to a virtual working model for several months. Now, although health concerns continue, companies are creating thorough plans and procedures to transition employees back to on-site work as safely as possible. After months of staying home, attention will return to the activities within the four walls of the corporate office.
However, this transition may not be simple. Companies need well-thought-out plans and communications as they implement one or more of these techniques:
Phased employee returns. This could require creating a complex, shifting structure to limit the number of people sharing space in the building, taking into account different departments’ and individuals’ facility needs.
Physical distancing at work. This could mean relocating workspaces, reconfiguring conference and break rooms or limiting the number of people in elevators.
Stringent safety and cleaning procedures. These could include eliminating hand-to-surface contact through door pulls, installing automatic and antibacterial soap dispensers and relying on employees to clean their own spaces. Tearaway disposable desk pads make it easy for employees to keep their work areas sanitized.
Providing clear guidance
Before employees walk through the doors again, company leaders should present new policies and practices to avoid confusion. Make messages clear, confident and on-brand:
Communicate changes. Branded flyers, posters, banners and floor graphics displaying new health and safety guidelines will help reassure employees that the company is putting their protection first.
Be transparent. How many times daily are common surfaces cleaned? How many hand-sanitizing stations does the office have? What types of cleaning supplies are available? Share these measures on visible signage to demonstrate a commitment to safety and generate awareness for your organization’s new normal.
Set expectations. Everyone in an organization must commit to safety expectations in order for everyone to feel safe. We often think of culture as the attitude and values set by an organization, but so much of it comes down to the expectations we have. Well-designed and well-placed signage can remind people of what to expect from each other and what they can expect from the company.
Reestablishing a connection
Take this opportunity to welcome back employees and customers. No need to do it quietly. A friendly greeting is more than good policy — it reinforces your company's culture and values. Besides, many people have been looking at their own living room walls for months. Brighten up the office with branded posters or banners on lobby walls to provide essential information and much-needed familiarity after months away. Capture employees’ attention and cut through the tension with colorful and innovative floor graphics.
Your brand and your organization’s culture are more important now than ever. Remind employees and customers what it feels like to be a part of your brand — and that your values remain unchanged — when you reunite in person.
Raising the bar
While many organizations may not fundamentally change, information about the pandemic will fluctuate in the coming months. New workplace policies and strategies may need to evolve, along with forms of communication. As companies develop plans for this transitional period, adaptability is critical.
When new information is available, share it with employees and customers in an engaging way to foster a culture of camaraderie and trust. Build the same trust by working with dependable vendors. At FedEx Office, we work as an extension of your organization to provide the commercial print solutions you need for a safe and effective transition back to the office. We are here to help your company’s new normal become its strongest iteration yet.
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