With each jab we are inching closer and closer to some semblance of normality.
Hugs can resume. A cold glass in a pub garden is on the cards. Gyms are dusting-off the machines. And employers are itching to switch the office lights back on.
Reboarding is the new buzz word…. that I just made up.
Welcoming staff back to the office and getting back in the groove is not as easy as unlocking the door and opening the floodgates.
Safety comes first.
Steps and policies must be put into place to maintain the health and safety of employees. New sanitising protocols may be necessary. Workstations may need adapting. PPE may be required when once it was not.
Strategies will need to be put in place to manage who returns and when. Headcounts may need to be kept low temporarily to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Guidance for customer facing staff will be required for traveling and face-to-face meetings.
Most importantly employee wellbeing and safeguarding mental health must be priority.
Even the best laid plans will fail without buy in from all concerned. Sensitivity is key. Some may be reluctant to return and others may be eager to see the end of working from home.
Concessions must be made to help employees re-acclimatise to office working. That may include a temporary hours change or shift in their physical workspace.
Staff must be reassured and comfortable that management are doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of the workforce. Communication is invaluable.
To “reboard” your team means to welcome them back to the office. That may include a desk drop of gifts, merchandise or stationery. It can be company branded and used to convey a specific message. It may include items to support the new way of working – pocket hand sanitiser or device wipes for example.
Reboarding might also include training or refreshers on office hygiene, new policies or systems. Merchandise can be used to support that with reminders or tips on their new, old life.
Reboarding could include team building and icebreakers. After a year of near solitary confinement people might need coaxing into socialising and cooperation again. Staff apparel and team branding is an ideal way to help bond a group.
Reboarding may include a reward for the commitment during a year out of the work environment. Or reassurance their role is secure and they are appreciated.
Lastly reboarding is staying in touch with staff. Having an open flow of conversation on how the reintroduction is going. Reinforcing messages and ensuring wellbeing is in check.
Reboarding doesn’t need to cost the earth either. A stress ball or pack of sweets with the right message or sentiment can be as valuable to an employee as a seriously instagramable goody box overflowing with the latest tech. But equally the excitement and theatre of a beautifully crafted and considered selection of useful gifts can really light up eyes and blow minds.