As staff start returning to the office, is it time for companies to consider implementing mandatory reorientation programs?
As the United States continues its nationwide vaccination efforts, states and cities across the country are starting to open up, relaxing capacity limits on indoor spaces, removing mask requirements, and allowing larger events. This also means that many companies that have been forced to shift to a remote work model for well over a year are now making plans to reopen their doors, creating challenges for these organizations and their HR teams and managers.
Bringing Workers Back
Amid concerns over health and safety and the logistics of bringing an entire workforce back into the office, getting staff back into the mind-set and habits of working in the office again is a challenge that may not be top of mind.
Think of the content in an average initial employee orientation:
- Reviewing HR policies;
- Giving a tour of the office;
- Introducing new employees to people they’ll be working with;
- Discussing company values, culture, and workplace expectations; and
- Maybe having lunch with the boss.
These elements can be nearly as valuable to staff returning to the office after over a year of working from home as they are to those who are brand new.
Avoid Making Assumptions
It’s important for managers and HR teams to keep in mind that over a year of working remotely can significantly impact work habits and values. If you want to retain or regain those values, you can’t assume employees will automatically relearn them as soon as they get back into the office. So much has changed, and people have naturally developed their own routines while working from their home office. Additionally, some key employees may no longer be with the organization, and some may return to an office that looks different from the one they worked in pre-pandemic.
Companies should consider reorienting employees who are returning to the post-pandemic workplace and treat them like it’s their first day on the job. In many ways, it will feel very much like their first day!