Let’s face it: most of us are in a long-term, committed relationship with our at-home “office”. Whether it's a makeshift bedroom + desk combo, or DIY ring light solution for taking meetings in a dark basement office, we’re all used to it. Working from home is our new normal, and it's hard to think about leaving this all behind again to resume in-person work.
Here are our tips for breaking up with your home office and transitioning back to the office:
Ease into the Idea
Covid-19 isn’t magically going to disappear, but with the rate of community spread decreasing and the percent of vaccinated adults in our communities increasing, it’s likely time to start thinking about transitioning from working remotely to returning to the office.
In Utah, 19% of adults are fully vaccinated and all Utahns ages 16+ are now eligible to schedule vaccination appointments. In Summit County, where Kiln’s newest Park City location is set to open next week, more than 55% of adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. If everyone does their part to get vaccinated, we will soon reach herd immunity and community-wide protection against Covid-19.
Communicate Clearly and Make a Plan
Start an open dialogue with your employees sooner rather than later. Gauge interest and comfort level, ease in with a hybrid approach that combines working from home and from the office, and create a staggering schedule that dedensifies your workplace to facilitate physical distancing. Established dedicated desks to reduce movement around the workplace. Start a contact tracing protocol, screen employees for fevers, and make a contingency plan in the event that someone in your workplace tests positive for Covid-19. When returning to in-person work, don’t let chance get the best of your safety.
Allow Flexibility and Prioritize Safety
Your employees are going to need time to adjust. They’ll be thinking about child care, commuting, and scheduling for the first time in a long time. The more flexibility the better. Talk to your team and hear their concerns, hesitations, and excitement. When it comes to wellbeing and safety, know that everyone is processing this pandemic in a unique way.
You’ll probably want to stock your office with sanitizing and sterilization supplies and extra masks. You might think about joining a coworking space to leave the Covid-19 protocols to a team that’s been refining it’s policies for months. Check out Kiln’s Health and Wellness strategies to see how we’ve implemented cutting-edge technology and novel systems to protect against infectious disease and prioritize your total wellness.
Be Kind to Yourself and Your Team
Don’t underestimate the difficulty of change. Give yourself time to adjust. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you inevitably lose motivation, get distracted, or fail to stick to a routine.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about how to boost morale among your employees throughout the last year –– those efforts, whether they be virtual movie nights or happy hours, shouldn’t disappear just because you’re back to the office.
Keep an open conversation going about the comfort and safety of your office environment, so that your employees aren’t intimidated to bring up ideas about how to tailor their experience to their needs.
This might go without saying, but in the weeks leading up to your return to the office, start waking up earlier. If you’re now used to working at any time, adjust to working only during normal business hours. Dare we say ditch the sweatpants?
Establish boundaries so that you can maximize efficiency. If you work in a shared office space, set hours aside in the morning for collaborative work and ad-hoc meetings, and leave the afternoon blocked for your long-term projects.
Don’t Change Everything at Once
If you’re used to a second coffee at 10am, take advantage of Kiln’s in-house cafes and kitchens for your caffeine boost. If you’ve become accustomed to a mid-day jaunt on the treadmill, take advantage of Kiln’s gyms and showers. If you’re used to checking in on the kids or taking calls from friends, utilize Kiln’s private phone booths.
Reduce stress by changing one thing at a time. If you’re changing where you work, you shouldn’t necessarily change how you work, too!
Be Inspired by a Collaborative Community
It’s exciting to start meeting new people again. If you’ve felt lonely or isolated throughout the last year, we suggest immersing yourself in a creative environment with a community-feel. At Kiln, we offer a variety of flexible membership packages, and a space that’s catered towards the needs of entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage tech ventures, and remote employees and creatives. Book a tour to check out our locations in Utah’s Salt Lake City, Lehi, and Park City, as well as Boulder, Colorado!