Support Remote Employees Transitioning: As companies look ahead to the post-pandemic world, many are struggling with whether or not to bring employees back into the office. Some have opted to stay remote full time, some will bring employees back to the office and others have considered embracing a hybrid workforce with a mix of in-office and remote work.

No matter which path companies choose, a few hurdles are bound to crop up—especially in cases where an employee was hired remotely and is now expected to report to a physical workplace. To help curb any issues companies might face during these transitions, members of Young Entrepreneur Council proposed some solutions for employers who want to support their employees as they shift back to “normal.”

1. Adjust Your Dress Code Policy

To ease the transition back to normal as more employees return to the office, companies can implement a less strict dress code. Everyone’s been used to working in comfy clothes from the comfort of their homes, and adapting to dressing up can pose a challenge. You can meet your employees in the middle by relaxing on the dress code and even having a casual Friday or Monday. This takes off the pressure and eases integration back into a work life that doesn’t feel like too much at once. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

2. Focus On Socializing

One way to help remote hires transition to working from the office is to start with casual meets at the office. Instead of diving into work, why not get people together to chat and play a few games? Focusing on the social aspect of working at an office can make it more appealing for people who have been working remotely. Of course, it’s also important to retain flexibility by allowing people to have more work-from-home options than before. – Syed Balkhi |, WPBeginner

3. Consider A Hybrid Work Model

If you have a medium or large business, having everyone come back at the same time may be disruptive at a time when people are still concerned about safety. Employees also have gotten accustomed to working at home or remotely. I’d recommend looking carefully at your needs and assessing whether you really need everyone to be physically present in the office. For many businesses, it might be better to have a balance between in-office and remote work. For example, you may want to continue having certain meetings via video chat. In general, have a flexible approach as times are still uncertain. Don’t expect everything to return completely to normal. In some ways, allowing for more flexible arrangements can be beneficial for both employees and businesses. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

4. Create A ‘New Normal’ Together

Post-pandemic, flexible working and splitting time between the office and home will be a must. We’ve all learned that remote working isn’t such a taboo and can be done well with the right structures in place. For those who want to come into the office, safety measures like space between desks and sanitizing stations are key. To help integrate remote hires back into the office environment, we will have introductory sessions for everyone to get to know each other and how we all work together in a social setting. We’re working on plans for flexible working and how this will factor into our working days, as this is now the “new normal”—and we work better for it. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.

5. Rearrange The Office Space For Group Work

Rethink how you understand the role of the office in the world of work. It used to be that we had to go to the office to get work done. Now, we all know we can do work no matter where we are. A return to the office in any capacity requires some justification. You can justify a return to the office by transforming your office into a place that is especially conducive to certain kinds of work. Think: Brainstorming rooms decked out with lots of whiteboards and shared spaces, or product-testing rooms with all the latest tech your team needs to build and test your next product. Essentially, the office needs to be a more intentional space than it used to be. If your office is indistinguishable from an employee’s bedroom setup, they have no real reason to be there. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com

6. Give Employees Ample Notice Beforehand

Communicate early and often regarding the “back to normal” strategy so everyone knows what’s in store, and it’s highly recommended that you utilize a phased approach. As one brief example, some of your workers who were hired while remote may start back at the office a few days per week. Then, ramp things up once a comfort level is established. Build flexibility into the strategy as well since the return to the office is more than likely going to be a fluid type of thing. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

7. Make A Kind Gesture To Lighten The Mood

If you want to bring a sense of normal back to your office for everyone, including employees who were hired while remote, do nice things for your team. A simple gesture like ordering everyone pizza for lunch can brighten the mood and make everyone feel comfortable, even if they are on edge from the transition back to the office. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

8. Let Them Keep Some Work-From-Home Perks

For many people, the best job perks are working from home and working a flexible schedule. If you require employees to return to working set schedules onsite, then you need to offset what they believe they’re losing with new perks. The key is to ease the pain they’ll feel from losing the ability to work from home and all of the benefits that come with it. This can be very difficult, so you need to be generous. Remember that the new perks have to be perceived as having equal or greater value to working from home. If you can’t offer equivalent or better perks than working remotely, allow employees to “keep” some of the remote work benefits they had during the pandemic. For example, allow people to take a couple of hours off for medical appointments without using an entire vacation day. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

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