How to Leverage Culture as Workers Return to the Office

May 28th, 2020

The past two and a half months have presented a wealth of challenges for organizations to overcome, including how to maintain engagement and productivity with a remote workforce.

Now, as states begin to reopen and workers begin to return to the office, organizations face a new challenge of readjusting and recapturing the office's buzz and collective energy when so much has changed.

Besides ramping up cleaning measures and adopting new policies in light of COVID-19, companies have a powerful tool handy to assuage worries among employees and help everyone acclimate to the new normal: culture.

Make no mistake, things have changed. The traditional culture-building and team-bonding practices now have to be modified in order to be successful. We’ll share some tips on how organizations can refine and leverage their culture to encourage and empower their teams throughout the remainder of this crisis.

Reassess culture and values

Deeper than just the organizational level, this pandemic has disrupted the personal lives and value systems of virtually every individual in the country. Things that mattered in March are very different than what matters now in May.

Similar to the personal development this pandemic has initiated in the lives of many, organizations too must evolve to address the new concerns and values the aftershock of the coronavirus has brought to light.

Take time to address your company’s values and mission statement with all employees as you begin to reacclimate to life in the office.

What values don’t seem to be as accurate now as they were a few months ago?

What existing company beliefs need to be reemphasized? Do any need to be modified?

What new values do employees feel need to be incorporated to better reflect the current times and new normal?

It’s important to give every employee the chance to have their voice heard and feel involved in the process of crafting and reinforcing company values. Bring your teams together by collaborating whole-scale on what matters now on an organizational level. Though the jobs of returning employees may be the same, their lives have changed. Put in the time to make sure your culture reflects that.

Encourage openness and transparency

While returning to the office will be a relief for the majority of people after prolonged isolation, it will be hard to ignore that working in the office simply isn’t what it used to be.

Gone are the handshakes, group lunch trips, casual socializing, and close quarter meetings.

New safety measures have to be strictly adhered to, and along with it comes a new office work life.

Make sure to give employees space and time to mourn the familiarity of the past. Provide ample opportunities for everyone to discuss their concerns about the new changes and your plans to address them.

Consider hosting a brief but thorough “re-orientation” program to help set expectations and new protocols. With so much confusion and uncertainty in the world at large, this level of transparency and openness is exactly what most people are yearning for.

You can even have fun with this and play icebreaker games and have everyone re-introduce themselves to coworkers like it’s their first day all over again (and in a lot of ways, it is).

Bear Staffing

Struggling to find the talent your business needs to navigate through uncertain times? Bear Staffing is here to help.

Our team of industry experts has substantial experience connecting organizations with top-tier talent across multiple industries. Call us today to learn more.