How to transition your staff from remote working

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic was for some a relief, and for others, an inconvenience. But most employees managed to reorganise their workspace to do their jobs effectively over the past several months. Now that some companies are ready to bring their staff back to the workplace, a series of steps may be needed to facilitate a return to regular onsite operations.

Notify Employees in Advance

Distribute emails, text messages, and mailed documents to inform everyone of the transition plan. This should be done several weeks in advance, if possible, so parents can arrange childcare for their kids or eldercare for older relative who live with them. Employees can also begin organising their work and records for a smooth transition when it occurs.

Prepare Company Workspace Beforehand

The company or facility should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised before employees start to return. Workspace areas should be organised and ready to accommodate all the staff members as they move their work from a home office back to the organisation. Support staff and office supplies should be on hand to prevent delays in processing each employee’s workload. The company operations should be the same as before, or if changed, employees should receive clear instructions for implementing new policies and procedures.

Move Non-Essential Aspects First

It may be easier to move the non-critical elements of each person’s job first. Prior records, seldom-used equipment, and extra supplies can be taken into the company and organised before the more essential aspects are transferred. These would be the computer, printer, fax machine, and copier unless the employees used their own from home.

Consider a Phased Transition

The company may want to transition one department at a time rather than having the entire company move all at once over a weekend, for example. Establish a priority order and announce it to employees with dates, so they can prepare accordingly. With support staff in place and readily accessible, the core workers can return to the worksite in teams or department configurations and be ready to continue their jobs as if working from home. Any difficulties can be more manageable with smaller groups returning in staged phases.

Be Ready to Assist and Answer Questions

Have someone in the company fully apprized of the transition plan in each department. That person can serve as the liaison between administration and each area in the organisation to answer questions and provide guidance. If a problem or concern arises, the point person can address it rather than having individual employees get involved and overwhelm the administrators. If locations have changed within the facility, post signs to help direct employees to new offices or company services.

A return to the workplace can be both exciting and challenging. Detailed planning and a smooth execution of the transfer should be prepared in advance to ensure a seamless transition. Ask employees what they need to transfer their work from home back to the company, so everyone can be on the same page during this critical phase of operations.

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