Whether you’re reading the news, browsing LinkedIn, or catching up with your department leaders, there is one topic dominating the Covid-19 conversation: returning to the office. These words bring up so much meaning for workers who have been remote for over a year now. Feelings of excitement, desperation, relief, and everything in between can be felt. return to the office anxiety
But, as we are fast approaching our return to normalcy, many workers are starting to feel anxious about seeing their colleagues again. This anxiety that our workforce is facing is not unfounded. Vaccination rollouts and covid workplace regulations can only do so much to heal a year’s worth of drastic environmental and social change, new life challenges, and unexpected loss.
If you’re fearing a return to the office scenario, it’s not just you. About 1 in 4 workers currently working from home due to COVID-19 would prefer to stay fully remote, according to a March 2021 survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers. Employees are even considering taking a pay cut in order to continue to clock in remotely. And 42% of workers said they plan to start job-hunting if their company ends its remote work policy, according to a Prudential survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S. who’ve worked from home during the pandemic.
Although alleviating anxiety is no easy feat, department leaders owe their nervous employees the stable environment they need to return to work with confidence. Doing so not only builds trust and encouragement among team members but ensures a smoother transition for all. Here are three ways to help manage return to the office anxiety.
1. Communicate Your Plan
The most crucial step as an employer is to ensure you have a plan and communicate it to employees as soon as possible and in a straightforward manner. With many employers setting a firm return to the workplace, employees will be looking to their leadership team for guidance, honesty, and an effective plan for returning in person. If you have managers, prepare them for their role throughout this process and how best to stay transparent with their teams throughout the transition.
“Not everyone is lucky enough to sit in strategic planning meetings with the CEO, but that does not mean they should not know what is going on.”
– Daniel Amaro, Lead Consultant at Klarinet Solutions
Collaborate with your executive team on clear, concise messaging about the business’s current state and future direction as you plan to return to the office. Frequent and consistent communication from leadership increases employee trust and builds confidence within the organization. When employees do not understand the company’s overall strategic objectives and the reasons behind them, they are less likely to be engaged and more likely to be anxious thus, putting the organization’s business initiatives at risk. If you are looking for a modern digital workplace to support your future workforce, here are 5 ways you can kickstart a communication plan with Microsoft 365.
2. Remain flexible for Employees
It is important to remember that not everyone will feel comfortable returning to work completely. Offering employees the choice to continue working from home or returning to the workplace is critical to helping them manage their anxiety. The survey, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Prudential, also found that 87% of American workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic would prefer to continue working remotely at least one day a week post-pandemic. Among all workers, 68% say a hybrid workplace model is ideal.
“Microsoft provides a vast range of tools to meet the collaboration needs of organizations regardless of their location, management, size, working style, and devices. Whether you are using it for personal use, small to mid-sized businesses, large enterprises, education, the federal government, or non-profits, this modern enterprise is the engine that fuels collaboration, communication, and culture.”
– Daniel Amaro, Lead Consultant at Klarinet Solutions
3. Leverage a Technology Strategy
Creating a successful hybrid plan can quickly turn chaotic and fail without the right system integration strategy, expert guidance, and support. Microsoft 365 is currently the leading digital workplace provider for personal, business, and enterprise users.
Microsoft 365’s modern enterprise productivity tools like Teams and SharePoint allow organizations to retain the best people, secure information, and develop a better organizational culture. As a result, research has shown that this new wave of technology impacts employees in these ways:
- Increased Productivity: Employees can understand the systems at hand and better share, communicate, and collaborate with their colleagues.
- Higher-Rated Employee Experience: Connect seamlessly with employees across any device or even externally with users outside your firm (clients, partners, etc.)
- More Fulfillment: Create a connection with your organization’s brand, find purpose in one’s work, and grow professionally.
This has understandably been a tremendously anxious year. The rollercoaster of emotions continues as we all try to understand and process the changes of the past year and prepare for the unknowns that are to come. Having Microsoft 365 experts who provide ongoing managed service, support, and training can be very beneficial for your organization. Klarinet Solutions brings 15+ years of Microsoft 365 digital workplace expertise to plug into your existing IT team and provide the specialized resources you need when you need them.
The Workplace of the Future is Here
The truth is your employees need you, and you need them. Leaders must be focused on cultivating thriving cultures of internal mobility, prioritizing continuous learning and mental health, and delivering robust benefits to support their workers. Much of the anxiety that comes with returning to work is not only the strain of seeing and speaking with people daily but also the fear of moving back to an outdated form of working that crushes company culture, productivity, and communication.
Klarinet Solutions is here to help organizations solve any doubt, inexperience, and uncertainty that pertain to a return to office strategy. Our proven solutions advance enterprise communication by connecting users with everything they need, integrating powerful tools, and cultivating long-term employee happiness.
We’re more than happy to answer all questions or concerns you may have, contact our team, or reach us at (866) 211-8191.