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Navigating The Return To The Office – A Survival Guide

It almost doesn’t seem real that after 18 months, we are allowed to step foot inside our office space again. After all the worrying, social distancing, hand-washing, and mask-wearing that the pandemic brought, it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of sharing a space with a group of people again – no matter how much you like them!

Everything will feel different this time, from totally mundane things like photocopying or waiting for the kettle to boil, to how meetings will be conducted now. So how do you get comfortable with new safety protocols? And what do you need to consider when returning to the office? Luckily our team have experienced this same predicament this week as we returned to our Cork office. See our survival tips below.

 

Keep A Checklist Of Items You Need And What Needs To Be Done.

We’ve had to be extra vigilant about germs for over a year now, and it’s no surprise that this will carry over to your workspace. Now that we are returning to a space of shared toilets and communal kitchens, the sanitization of surfaces and appliances is even more prevalent. Your company likely has already put measures in place to ensure the safe return of its employees, but it is still a good idea to have a personal checklist at hand to refer to each morning and evening. Think about what you need to feel comfortable in a shared workspace. The most popular items will be disinfectant spray, masks, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitiser, visors. This should be paired with wiping down all surfaces each evening.

 

Check-in With New Employees.

It is quite possible that new employees have started with your company in the last 18 months. While the team would have been working from home, this person would have to meet their new team through Zoom calls and communicate through email. This also happened in Connect Promotions when our Digital marketing Executive Victoria took up her role remotely in March 2021. But as we know, there is a different work dynamic when in an office space. Meeting people for the first time, learning new workplace practices whilst still remaining vigilant can be overwhelming. Make sure to check in with your new team members and ask if they need help with anything. There is also no better way to welcome someone to your team than an onboarding kit. Getting them set up with branded merchandise makes new recruits feel appreciated, welcome and part of the team. And you get to nurture a new brand champion.

 

No More Hoarding!

Gone are the days of fighting over mugs in the kitchen and hoarding teaspoons at your desk. Having personal utensils is becoming necessary in shared workplaces. To follow health and safety protocols it is advised that each employee has their own mug, lunchbox, cutlery, straw, bottle, and even pens. This is a great opportunity to provide your staff with personalised utensils and drinkware so that nobody will be sharing items.

 

Be Aware Of Co-Worker’s Boundaries.

As we transition back to the office and events, we need to be mindful that not everybody will be comfortable with close contact. Everyone is in a different situation, and you may not be aware of a co-worker’s underlying condition or family obligations. Why not set up a station at your door allowing employees to pick up a wristband that aligns with how they are feeling?

Red = Keep Your Distance Please

Yellow = Lets Chat But At A Safe Distance

Green = I’m Ok With Handshakes & High-Fives

 

Get Support If Needed.

We have just been through a global pandemic and to be honest, we are still weathering the storm. None of us have ever been through something like this before. There is no shame in reaching out and finding support if needed. Heading back into the office can stir up a lot of emotions and can result in anxiety and stress if the transition is overwhelming. Make your mental health a priority in these stressful times.

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