Is Your Team Ready to Return to the Office? Ask Them

Canva - People on a Video CallWe’re professional communicators. We survey and design communications to motivate actions and measure outcomes. But do we do that internally, among our own teams?

Our work lives and behaviors have been interrupted and challenged in unprecedented ways by closures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Many jurisdictions and offices are now creating plans to allow re-opening, taking steps to make the work environment safer. But how do the employees in your organization view re-opening and returning?

In a recent webinar, the head of a local public relations agency described the thorough, painstaking and expensive steps to ensure the safety of the staff when re-opening the office. But in a video call with the full staff to share these extensive upgrades and safety measures, the owner was surprised and perplexed by the concerned, troubled faces looking back. Where was the enthusiasm for return expected from a generally young and healthy group?

An anonymous response follow-up survey found that the majority of the staff did not feel comfortable returning to the office yet, despite the owner’s care and preparation. How to proceed? The owner assembled a task force from all levels of the staff to develop and present their own, new plan for a staged return to the office. This is the plan they will implement and none of the staff will be pushed to return until they feel safe.

While the pressure to be creative and responsive has never been greater, the fundamentals of good two-way communication are still indispensable to helping us come through to the new work format on the other side of the crisis.

This article appeared in the June 2020 issue of “Smart Solutions”, PRofessional Solutions, LLC’s newsletter.

PRofessional Solutions, LLC has been an integral part of the metro DC communications community since 1994. Our PR professional associates can supplement your staff as needed or run an independent project. Reach out if you’d like to explore how we can help with a specific challenge.


About Melanie Jordan

Melanie Jordan is Managing Director of PRofessional Solutions, LLC, a public relations temporary staffing firm located in Washington, DC.
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