Coronavirus (COVID-19), HR Management & Compliance

Why the Post-COVID Office Return Is a Great Time to Shake Things Up

Companies eventually returning to the office after COVID-triggered remote work will already have a lot on their plates, but they should also consider taking advantage of the opportunity to make some major changes they may have been putting off.

Return
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While some companies are looking to make their remote work stints permanent and others’ expected return date may keep getting pushed back, many companies will be coming back to the office, with most expecting this to happen sometime in 2021.

Using ‘The New Normal’ to Prompt Important Change

Logistically, this is likely to be a huge undertaking, just as it was when companies switched to remote work virtually overnight early in 2020. It’s also a major cultural shift and will likely be a personal challenge for many employees who have grown used to the greater flexibility, freedom, and casualness of their home office.

With such enormous logistical and cultural changes on the plate already, why would we suggest implementing other major changes? The answer is simple: The office will already be in the change mind-set, and to a large extent, there’s a blank slate to work with.

What’s on Your Change Wish List?

Nearly every manager has a list of ambitious projects sitting around somewhere collecting dust. These big-picture plans are easy for many to put off because they seem so daunting—and for good reason: It’s hard to change company culture.

Encouraging staff to show up 5 minutes early to meetings instead of slightly late, for example, is a big undertaking because it’s built on so many years of contrary practice and habit. Or, changing things up to reshuffle the layout of the office might meet a lot of resistance because people are used to how things are.

Now Is the Time

The months-long shift to remote work is certain to act as a reset button for many organizations as employees return to work. It will be far easier to make big changes, then, because:

  • Staff are already experiencing big changes.
  • Months away from the office has helped erase the ingrained habits of life built up in the office.

The logistics and management challenges of bringing an entire workforce, or at least a significant portion of the workforce, back to physical offices are considerable. While it might seem like those challenges alone are more than enough for managers to handle, this may be the perfect time to make other needed changes.

While some companies are looking to make their remote work stints permanent and others’ expected return date may keep getting pushed back, many companies will be coming back to the office, with most expecting this to happen sometime in 2021.

Using ‘The New Normal’ to Prompt Important Change

Logistically, this is likely to be a huge undertaking, just as it was when companies switched to remote work virtually overnight early in 2020. It’s also a major cultural shift and will likely be a personal challenge for many employees who have grown used to the greater flexibility, freedom, and casualness of their home office.

With such enormous logistical and cultural changes on the plate already, why would we suggest implementing other major changes? The answer is simple: The office will already be in the change mind-set, and to a large extent, there’s a blank slate to work with.

What’s on Your Change Wish List?

Nearly every manager has a list of ambitious projects sitting around somewhere collecting dust. These big-picture plans are easy for many to put off because they seem so daunting—and for good reason: It’s hard to change company culture.

Encouraging staff to show up 5 minutes early to meetings instead of slightly late, for example, is a big undertaking because it’s built on so many years of contrary practice and habit. Or, changing things up to reshuffle the layout of the office might meet a lot of resistance because people are used to how things are.

Now Is the Time

The months-long shift to remote work is certain to act as a reset button for many organizations as employees return to work. It will be far easier to make big changes, then, because:

  • Staff are already experiencing big changes.
  • Months away from the office has helped erase the ingrained habits of life built up in the office.

The logistics and management challenges of bringing an entire workforce, or at least a significant portion of the workforce, back to physical offices are considerable. While it might seem like those challenges alone are more than enough for managers to handle, this may be the perfect time to make other needed changes.

We encourage leaders to look at this challenge as an opportunity, as well. There will perhaps be no other time in the future when the office is so ripe for a fresh start. What will you change as your employees return to the physical workplace?