Getting the team together in the COVID-normal office.

January 20, 2021
2020 has been a real ride. The pandemic has been a powerful catalyst in getting us all to do some soul searching and to look at our lives, relationships, homes, routines, lifestyles and careers through a new lens. So with vaccines rolling out, how do you entice your team back to the office in a successful hybrid model of working from home and in the covid-normal office?

Well, we’re here to tell you that the traditional office is dead. If you want to attract your team back into the office, even if it’s for just some of the time, you’ll need to evolve your workplace to fit the fast-approaching future…

It seems many us, or more accurately, our staff like the taste of dropping the office commute and working in our PJs with the hound by our side.

In fact, research shows that:

  • 43% of Australian workers preferred to work completely at home
  • 30 % of Australian workers preferred to work completely at the office
  • 27 % of Australian workers wanted a mix of both

Knowing this, what can you do to entice your team back into the covid-normal office and make it a success? 

Well here’s a few ideas to we have seen working successfully, let us know if they work for you!

Start fresh with a welcome email

Hey, it’s nice to see you, again.

For many people, this is going to feel like onboarding all over again. Take this opportunity to remind staff of company polices, what’s changed, what’s new and what’s still the same.

Doing this a week, or so, before they’re due back is a great way to help them feel more prepared, confident and comfortable to come back.

Gifts to make it personal

Show your team how excited you are to have them back in the office. You might want to curate something personal for every team member, or even get some personalised hand sanitiser and wipes with their names printed on them — which they can keep on their desks.

Create a schedule

With the flexibility of working from home, some of us may have forgotten what it feels like to work in a more structured way. To help your team, create a schedule that’ll help them ease back into the flow of things and importantly, help to keep them on track and motivated.

Build in extra time to re-establish themselves in their space, such as giving them autonomy over their space, and while it’s the company’s responsibility to clean surfaces etc, offering desk based sanitising products may increase their comfort levels and help them feel like their space is ready for them.

Build organisational resilience

The pandemic has been an enormous disruption — personally and professionally, both in the home and at work. For many people, this has meant the need to focus on their inner resilience. But what about your organisation’s resilience?

Well, this is the perfect time to create more resilience operating models to help prepare your team to anticipate and respond to the changing nature of business.

Making your organisation more resilient means they’ll be better able to:

  • Operate more effectively in the face of threats, known and unknown
  • Embrace disruption and use it to their advantage
  • Mitigate risks

Support your team’s wellbeing

Working in a post-COVID world means ramping up your office’s wellness programs. Not only will you help prevent burnout, but many wellbeing initiatives can help to lure your team (and new employees) into the office. Some office wellness trends growing in popularity include:

  • Offering employees daily guided meditation classes
  • Getting a yoga teacher in once or twice a week to teach a mindful movement class
  • Setting up a dedicated meditation ‘break out’ room, where employees can take a moment to re-set and re-charge
  • Offering a daily breakfast bar or setting up an espresso machine
  • Use active design, like installing treadmills or standing desks, to help encourage more physical movement
  • Offering your team gym memberships for a facility located within easy walking distance to your office

Setting up your office to help people feel safe, healthy and resilient helps to foster feelings of safety, which in turn will see a more productive and happier office environment.

Give your team what they want

Now that it’s been proved people want to work at home, and with about 27% of Australian workers wanting a mix of both office and working from home arrangements, it makes sense to make hybrid work practices part of your formal policies.

Set out what you expect from your team and update your flexible working arrangement polices to make it formal.

Don’t forget the health basics

Health and hygiene are here to stay.

Things like touchless surfaces make a significant difference in both perceived and real cleanliness. Some ways to incorporate touchless design into your office space include:

  • Destination elevators that need little user interaction
  • App-controlled elevators
  • Smart lighting
  • Touchless bathroom facilities, such as self-flushing toilets

Other ways to help your team feel safe at work include:

  • More visible and more frequent cleaning practices
  • Hand sanitisers located close to high touch areas
  • Instead of smaller office spaces, larger areas where communal desks are more spread out

Help your team to re-connect socially

Social interactions help to foster a sense of belonging, which can go a long way to boosting morale, creating an engaging workplace culture, as well as boosting productivity and creativity. But after a year of working from home, it can be a challenge to re-establish the social relationships among your team.

Re-fit your workplace for healthy social engagement. It’s time to get rid of the office cubicle and create shared zones, which are spacious enough to allow for social distanced interaction and collaboration.

Some other ways to foster more social engagement include:

  • Setting up a weekly breakfast meeting at a local café
  • Allowing some time for social discussion before or after a meeting
  • Making meetings active by going for a walk in the local park to discuss projects

Vestra can help you entice your team back to the office

Are you thinking about how to make your office work in a post pandemic world? Or maybe you have a question about your office refurbishment plans? If so, our expert office design and fit out team can help.

We’re a full-service office fit out company and our team have been designing high-end commercial workspaces for over 20 years. We take the time to get to know you and go on walkthroughs of your site and plan the right workspace for your team, which includes:

  • Bespoke joinery options
  • Audio-visual and technology solutions
  • Electrical, data and lighting needs
  • Office furniture selection

We also offer you a smooth process, and a solid portfolio.


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Are you ready to create your unique & creative workspace?

The earlier you chat with us, the better. We can help guide you through the whole process of office design. Get in touch with us today for a friendly, obligation-free chat about what’s possible.

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