Opening your doors after months of Zooming and Dropboxing has the same anticipation and fear of ripping off a bandaid. On one hand, you know taking the bandaid off will allow you to heal and move on. On the other hand, you know it won’t be easy and continue to wonder how much it will hurt. However, we’ve created tips that will remove the anxiety of reopening, and improve your business in the long-term.
1. “I’d like to thank the Academy.”
Okay, so maybe reopening is not as exciting as winning an Oscar. Yet, just like the actors and actresses who do win awards, there are many people who have helped your business maintain its reputation. Without giving a long and exasperated speech at your next meeting, you should give appreciation for your team’s hard work – and demonstrate empathy for their situations.
COVID-19 has challenged both businesses and their employees. As many companies may not be able to provide annual raises this year, it’s time to get creative with how you give thanks to those who helped you stay afloat. There are many ways to express gratitude beyond raises, and in fact creative expressions can increase employee retention. It’s going the extra mile that makes an employer irreplaceable.
One way you can give thanks is by adapting to each employee’s situation. Daycares and schools are changing the way they operate, leaving many employees juggling work and family. Only, unlike during stay-at-home, their children won’t be just a door away. Creating flexible work schedules, vacation days, scheduled breaks, and/or forums where employees can voice their concerns demonstrates consideration for their hard work and unique situations.
Additionally, reaching out to each employee can also make them feel appreciated. Bill Conerly, Senior Contributor of Forbes and economist, recommends business owners should call each of their employees personally before meeting mask-to-mask in the office. Prioritizing each employee’s needs will make returning to work easier and bolster company culture.
You can also show appreciation with gift boxes. The potential uses for gift boxes are unmatched. Happy hour in a box, sanitation kits, or “back-to-office” shopping can give thanks in a lighthearted and entertaining manner. Looking for a catch? You won’t find one. Employee appreciation campaigns are just a call away with Triad.
2. We’re all in this together
The key to ensuring success in a post-COVID-19 environment is keeping employees motivated. At the onset of the pandemic, everyone started forming new routines. Yet, months later, those new routines are getting old– and old habits are hard to break.
Moving back into the office can be daunting even for the most confident employee. Masks, gloves, and marked distances can make you feel like you’re in a hospital or some sort of sci-fi dystopia. Add on real-time social interactions after months of Zooming, and you’ve brewed a concoction of anxiety. Yet, that’s not to say you can’t remedy the nerves around reopening.
Keeping employees focused and efficient starts with motivating them in the workplace. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, motivating employees starts with satisfying their physiological, safety, and community needs. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) recommends offering individually wrapped snacks, being transparent about COVID-19 protocols, and creating an internal safety committee to satisfy physiological and safety needs.
In terms of community when we have to stay six feet apart, virtual employee engagement activities are crucial to maintaining company culture and decreasing stress. With basic needs met, employees will be able to focus on their tasks.
However, work-related goals should be digestible. Smaller goals are proven to increase productivity and motivation in the workplace. Breaking large projects into smaller checkpoints acts as a cushion of reassurance that an employee is doing well and can handle change. With encouragement and frequent goal-setting, employees will be motivated to adapt and change with your company during reopening.
3. Constructing Relaxation
The title seems ambiguous, but that’s intentional. As businesses reopen, all companies will adhere to general safety guidelines. Yet, how you obey guidelines opens a wide range of possibilities for improving employee experience, consumer journey, and your brand image.
Reopening is not as simple as cleaning counters and providing hand sanitizer. It’s all about strategy. If there’s one takeaway from this article, it’s making everything you do an experience for both your employees and your customers. Making your space relaxing, safe, and functional will make room for success.
The integrative theory of relaxation states the three pillars of relaxation are safety, peacefulness, and physical comfort. You can capture all three by making safety measures experiential. Experiential advertising has shaped the consumer journey for years, and COVID-19 is no exception. Branded floor decals, hand sanitizer stations, and safety posters can position your company as safe, responsible, and trustworthy in a time of turmoil. With the right products and setting, you can increase employee productivity and consumer trust for years to come.
In addition, other elements can create peace and tranquility in the workplace. Lighting, colors, and music can transform your office from a sterile environment into a safe space. Have you ever noticed the calming music that plays in Walmart or grocery stores? Matchbox Twenty is not playing just to cheer you up. Companies use music to position themselves as comforting and relatable, in hopes you come back. Constructing your work environment around relaxation will make your space safe, productive, and somewhere your employees will look forward to visiting.
4. The Art of the Pivot
Change is inevitable in business. No matter if it’s the current reopening or something else down the line, a successful business knows how to pivot when needed. And, to do it in style.
Like John Krasinski’s Some Good News show, there is a silver lining within the challenges from COVID-19. Many individuals spent more time with their families, found how to take time away from work while also being productive, and prioritized life values and work responsibilities. Although these strategies were born out of necessity, incorporating them into your business will make transitioning back to work seamless and strengthen company culture.
Along with adapting to individual employee needs, the art of the pivot post-COVID-19 involves knowing where to turn. COVID-19 has helped companies eliminate meetings that could be emails, create action-lists that recognize time-sensitive projects, and realize working from home can still be efficient. Continuing the healthy habits formed during the pandemic while you pivot to reopening will provide the structure for navigating future challenges.
So, go ahead. Take the bandaid off. With our tips for reopening, you can start the healing process effortlessly.
Want to kickstart your reopening strategy? Call us today and reopen with confidence.