In my last weekly update on the leadership lessons learned during COVID-19, I discussed overcommunication: the idea that leaders need to set the tone for our managers, offer flexibility and resources for our employees, and visibly participate in meetings and our more lighthearted company virtual events and challenges.
This week, instead of exploring how we handle the here and now, I am keen to share some ideas on how leadership can prepare for a smooth, safe transition when companies return to primarily office-based working.
Much of the plan that Calabrio’s leadership team has built for transitioning back to office life has come from open discussions with employees, customers and partners, as well as external resources. I have a full account of our work on TMCnet, but here’s a quick summary.
I do not foresee one singular day when we tell all our 650+ employees across the globe to return to work. Each region is facing a different level of risk and has different governmental rules and guidance. For other companies in the same situation, distributed geographically, it is time to be thinking about your re-entry plan. It is okay if it changes between now and when you start moving employees back to the office.
Most of us decided to shift to a work-from-home approach quickly. This means that we cannot simply return to the office without some level of maintenance and deep cleaning. Our re-entry plan includes putting standalone hand sanitation dispensers strategically throughout our offices, such as entry points and supply areas.
Along with bringing regional offices back on a varying timeline, we are planning for social distancing within our own walls. For our more populated offices, we are considering bringing back individuals in stages so we can limit the amount of people on each floor.
Once back in the office, contact will not be the same as before. Leadership should set best practices to maintain safe distancing throughout the office—at our desks, in the hallway and in typical gathering places like the cafeteria.
Communication seems to be my hot topic through this series, and for good reason. If we are going to implement so many guidelines to ensure employee safety, then leadership also needs to maintain communications to all employees about new rules, helping them understand how to stay healthy while they come back to our physical spaces, see their co-workers for the first time in a while, and travel and interact with customers and partners.
At Calabrio, we are planning for our safe return, however and whenever that happens. We are using our networks to gather ideas and merge them with our own. Read more about our return plan on TMCnet.