Navigating the Dreaded Return to Office: Tips and Tools for a Successful Transition

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Whether you like it or not, one prominent trend is emerging - the return to the physical office space. 

After years of working at home in our sweats, many tech giants and startups alike are adopting a new approach to work: a blend of in-person and remote work, or even a full return to the office. As this trend continues to gain momentum, it's crucial for tech companies to acclimate employees to this new working style and establish FRESH team norms.

Why the Shift?

Several factors are driving this shift back to the office. Tech companies have long embraced remote work, and the pandemic showed that it can be highly effective. However, there are compelling reasons behind the return to the office:

1. Collaboration and Innovation: In-person interactions often spark creativity and innovation. Informal chats at the coffee machine or brainstorming sessions in meeting rooms can lead to breakthroughs that remote work might not facilitate.

2. Company Culture: Maintaining a strong company culture can be challenging in a fully remote setup. Physical presence fosters a sense of belonging and shared values among employees.

3. Employee Well-being: As the “loneliness epidemic” spikes, more and more companies return to the office. However, hybrid models allow employees to enjoy the benefits of both in-office and remote work.

Tips for Acclimating Employees

Communication is Key: Keep employees informed about the return-to-office plan. Address concerns transparently, and provide ample time for adjustments.

Flexibility Matters: Recognize that the new norm may vary from person to person. Some employees may thrive in the office, while others prefer remote work. Offer flexibility where possible. Everyone needs something different to perform at their best!

Establish Clear Norms: Clearly define expectations regarding office hours, remote work policies, and communication channels. Ensure that all employees are on the same page.

Invest in Technology: Equipping employees with the right tools for remote and in-office collaboration is vital…

Personal User Manuals: A Valuable Tool

One innovative way to facilitate the transition is by employing personal user manuals. These “cheat sheets”, which outline an employee's work style, preferences, and communication style, can help coworkers understand and adapt to each other. 

We all know that connected teams have a 56% overall higher level of job performance. A study conducted by Atlassian found that teams that utilized personal user manuals reported a 25% reduction in misunderstandings and conflicts.

Personal user manuals provide insight into:

Work Hours: Do you prefer early morning meetings or late afternoon catch-ups?

Communication Style: Are you an advocate for direct, concise emails, or do you appreciate detailed explanations?

Collaboration Preferences: Are you a fan of impromptu brainstorming sessions or do you prefer scheduled meetings?

By embracing personal user manuals, tech companies can foster a culture of understanding and collaboration, making the transition smoother for employees as they acclimate to a new way of working. Check out our free version of a personal user manual here.

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