Smart reboarding after corona: 7 tips for giving your employees a warm welcome

How do you encourage them to get back into the old work rhythm, without overtaxing them?


09.06.2020

The moment arrived: after weeks of strict lockdown measures many companies restarted operations. More and more employees are choosing to work at the office a few days a week. Finally, happily reunited with colleagues!

What can you, as manager, HR manager or a professional, do to create a warm welcome for your colleagues? How do you encourage them to get back into the old work rhythm, without overtaxing them? How do you arrive at a healthy balance of office and home working? In short: how do you tackle smart reboarding?

 

  1. Organise a collective reboarding event

If it is practically possible, have all employees in your department gather in the workplace at the same time. Put together a unique, informal event for staff to exchange their thoughts and feelings about the recent, disruptive lockdown period. At the same time, it’s a good idea to have management or a director give a short, motivational speech. This sparks extra enthusiasm and brings the period of enforced home working to an official close.

You can also launch this reception event virtually (it will, however, dampen some of the positive impact), if it is currently difficult to bring everyone together in the workplace.

 

  1. Schedule separate reboarding interviews

Aside from a collective reboarding event, it is also useful for you, as a manager or HR manager, to schedule a separate interview with each employee. What are the employee’s reflections on this recent, confusing period? What did they miss, and what was not missed? What are/were their concerns? What have the past weeks taught the employee about themselves and the organisation? What recommendations or tips can they give regarding working together after corona?

Based on all the feedback you receive from your colleagues, you can take effective measures to improve well-being in the workplace and to oil any creaking work procedures.

 

  1. Launch new rituals

Rituals at work give a boost to business culture. But the corona crisis requires some of these rituals to be reset. Greeting each other in the workplace is one such example. This ritual (important for group cohesion) must be rethought. What about the informal chats at the coffee machine? Combining this kind of pleasant break with the (literal) rules of play concerning physical distancing and work hygiene will be a challenge.

Another important ritual: how to approach one another if we do not abide by the new rules? Look for a positive way to handle this, together with your colleagues. This will ensure that colleagues will dare to speak to each other in the right way, when necessary.

 

  1. Provide space for feelings and stories

A lot has changed for employees, at work and at home. Some are coping well with these changes, but there are also colleagues for whom an attentive listener is more than welcome. There may also be major changes in the company or the organisation itself, in terms of office layout, production processes and/or service provision. And sometimes colleagues will be leaving the company permanently. Make ample time available – both at the start of work and after business hours – for sharing stories and feelings. This contributes to greater solidarity and team spirit in the department or organisation.

 

  1. Put an end to (fossilised) habits

One of the positive results of the mandatory lockdown is the final breakthrough of a ‘New Way of Working’. Teleworking, virtual meetings and online communication channels made it possible for us to work together much more efficiently. The (company) cars stayed in the garage and traffic queues never materialised. Digitisation got an enormous impetus.

How do you retain the advantages of this kind of digital working? How can you combine them with the added value of face-to-face contacts? Deciding which elements are worth keeping moving forward out of lockdown will prove to be a fascinating exercise for your team. Make use of this momentum to toss some of the habits – the ones no one missed – over the side, for good.

 

  1. Keep homeworking on the agenda

Teleworking has made its final breakthrough within feasible companies and sectors. Working from home is no longer in an experimental phase. Many employers are conscious of how much extra time and extra efficiency it will generate. Make clear agreements about how the team will deal with remote working over the coming year. How many days a week will employees be expected to be at the workplace? How much say will they have in deciding this for themselves? What are the impacts for work schedules and consultation meetings? What does this mean for labour conditions?

 

  1. Set priorities again

The impact of the corona crisis on the economic cycle has been quite extensive. Moreover, there is still a period of anxious waiting ahead to see how the economic situation will evolve over the coming months and years. In your company and organisation, objectives and strategies will undoubtedly need to be comprehensively revised. What is the current situation at your organisation? Which products and services must be the focal point? How can employees contribute to this effort? In the context of a positive employee experience, it is crucial for your employees to be involved in these processes. This increases their engagement and creates broad support for putting new priorities on the agenda successfully.

These tips will help you, as an employer, carry out the post-corona reboarding of your employees thoroughly and effectively. After all the coldness of the lockdown measures, it is once again time for a warm, safe and enjoyable working atmosphere in your company or organisation. Your colleagues will feel welcome and freshly motivated to continue their work with full enthusiasm as a result.

 

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Or do you need help finding new employees?