BID® Daily Newsletter
Jun 28, 2021

BID® Daily Newsletter

Jun 28, 2021

Considerations For A Successful Workplace Transition

Summary: Now that employees are returning to the office, it is important to be aware of some of the challenges. The pandemic has left some residual effects that will need to be addressed in the workplace. Also, hybrid schedules can be tricky for managers to balance with their teams. Providing a supportive work environment for employees and managers will help smooth this transition for you.

In 1964, Randy Gardner, then a 17Y old teenager living in CA, broke the existing Guinness World Record for the longest time anyone stayed awake. To beat the former record holder, the teenager remained awake for 11 days and 25 minutes. After setting his record, he promptly slept for over 14 hours straight.
Though we aren’t aware of anyone staying awake that long over the past 16 months, one thing is clear — nearly everyone is tired. Tired from the effects of the pandemic, including working from home full-time. However, just because many people are tired of working remotely on a full-time basis doesn’t mean that they are ready for the new workplace reality. As community financial institutions (CFIs) and other organizations return to in-person work arrangements, whether on a hybrid or full-time basis, there are several things that managers should consider doing to help employees navigate this transition and enable their organizations to get up-to-speed more quickly.
Realize that mental health side effects from the pandemic continue. Just as people have had diverse experiences weathering the pandemic, managers need to be prepared for a wide array of differences in the way that employees respond to in-person working environments. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, over 40% of adults in the US experienced anxiety or symptoms of a depressive disorder in January 2021. This number increased from 11% of adults with the same types of symptoms during the first six months of 2019. Since these types of symptoms will not necessarily go away immediately, employers need to be prepared to deal with the difficulties that could result.
Provide a supportive work environment. To foster a smoother transition back to the office, a supportive work environment is needed. Start by educating employees on the ways people have been affected by the pandemic and how to support each other. Especially in the beginning, managers should plan on routine one-on-one meetings with their staff to make sure that everyone feels comfortable coming back to work in-person. Finding out concerns or difficulties early will increase the chances of transition success. It is also important to ensure that employees are aware of the availability of any mental health or other support resources and how to easily access them. Your human resources staff should have these available.
Encouraging ways for employees to connect with and support one another is equally important. According to the findings of JLL’s “Human Performance Report,” 97% of high-performing employees work within offices that are collaborative, with 89% viewing their colleagues as extended family members. Providing a supportive work environment not only helps the employees but also the institution. Gathering for lunches or simply celebrating the return to the office with treats are two easy ways to help employees connect again and feel that sense of extended family.
Help managers too. Don’t forget that managers will also be adapting to the changes in the new work environment. They will need adequate training to manage new employee concerns. One way of doing this is to set up a specific support network for managers, where they have the opportunity to voice any of their own concerns or operational needs. If there are any changes to the work routine, such as hybrid work schedules, managers may need extra education and guidance on how best to manage hybrid teams. Having the right resources is key and your human resources department should be ready to provide them.
As employees start settling back into the office routine, it is important to be aware of potential challenges. The pandemic has increased mental health issues, which will take some time to subside. Understanding how all your employees feel and providing them with a supportive work environment will help everyone get back to the office more easily and successfully. 
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