Carol Barkes is a conflict resolution expert, mediator, national speaker, educator and bestselling author who uniquely applies neuroscience to the fields of conflict resolution and negotiations. Her expert perspective is always fresh and relevant.
on How to Help Employees Return From Working From Home
1. Remember change is hard on our brains. By now many people have somewhat settled into working from home and will have a fight or flight response to “being released back into the wild.”
2. Have a plan that you allow your team to help create, and that you clearly think out and share with the entire organization. This is not a time for top-down leadership, but a time for inclusion. This is also not a time for surprises, as people are already stressed and the unknown just keeps that stress heightened. Heightened stress does not lead to good productivity.
3. Consider not making everyone do the same thing. Some people work better from home. Others work better away from home. If some of your team can work from home and prefer to, consider continuing with virtual teams. If others would rather get back to the office, let them. Not everyone needs to have the same process. So long as you are being clear about why you are doing what you are doing, then concerns about fairness will be minimized.
4. Give your employees time to adjust. People have kids at home, they are not feeling the best visually due to lack of haircuts, weight gain, etc., and their schedules may be very different than they were prior to working from home. Give them tools to adjust. Give them ample knowledge of your timelines and consider building in time for them to get a haircut, etc., once those services are open. They will greatly appreciate your consideration.
5. Plan on having to tell people things more than once. When people return to work, there will be new processes, but our brains will be trying to do things the same ol’ way. This means things that seem obvious might not be. New processes might not be followed well, at first, as people will do things the same way they always have. Just like learning anything new, repetition will be key.
6. Consider a hybrid of working from home and working from the office. Letting people ease into a new process can be less stressful. While we are anxious to get back to “normal,” patience is key.
Available for Interviews: Carol Barkes
Carol Barkes, CPM, is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results. She is also a speaker, educator, and author of the bestselling book: Success Breakthroughs: Leading Entrepreneurs and Professionals Reveal Their Secrets for Breaking Through to Success.
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