Insights

Re-entering the workplace: the human side of change

M Moser strategists from San Francisco, New York and London explore the tools and techniques to use as we return to – and reconnect in – the workplace.

2020-05-14

By Nabil Sabet
Group Director – New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto

and Grant Christofely
Senior Associate, Workplace Strategy – New York

and Elfreda Chan
Senior Associate, Strategy – San Francisco

and Frances Gain
Associate, Strategy – London

How can leaders create the right experience for people returning to the office?

Navigating the process of re-entering the workplace requires us to consider much more than the physical environment. Setting the right tone and developing the tools for communication and smarter working will be key to accelerating a successful return.

In our recent webinar, “Re-entering the workplace: Looking at the human side of change”, Group Director, Nabil Sabet and workplace strategists, Elfreda Chan, Grant Christofely and Frances Gain explored:

  • What and how to communicate during re-entry
  • Leadership strategies for teams returning to work
  • Digital tools and technology for a distanced workplace
  • Unlocking people’s potential in the new normal
Re-entering the workplace: the human side of change section
What and how to communicate as we return to the workplace

The human side of re-entering the workplace and considering individual experiences is key. Real transformation is enabled through engagement, employee trust, addressing logic and safety, and capturing emotion. Planning, empathy and clear communication can lead even the most resistant employees towards lasting change.

Respond to people’s emotions and scale empathy with a clear list of workplace protocols and guidance on thought processes. Arm employees with the right tools to help in learning to continuously adapt. Take a tailored approach to communications with different audiences and address a range of learning styles and absorption measures. All of these measures can help employees feel “heard” and can dramatically impact the employee experience while creating a sense of “distributed control”.

Re-entering the workplace: the human side of change section
Leadership strategies for teams returning to work

Determining if it’s the right time to re-enter the workplace and what employees are looking for as they return, should be key considerations for leaders. This will help inform the change strategy as well as communication and safety protocols. Which employees need to be in the office to get work done?

If re-entering the office is decided upon, it’s important to define user groups. Explore the profiles of these people, their teams, behaviours and purposes in the office. Consider what the business is trying to achieve with re-entering and let that guide the process.

Whether it’s through surveys, one-to-one interactions or team meetings, gathering information prior to coming back to the workplace can provide insight into employee fears and hesitations. This will help to inform how to best equip your people and the workplace with the right tools.

Re-entering the workplace: the human side of change section
Digital tools and technology for a distanced workplace

We can enhance sense of purpose and meaning while working remotely by using social tools to co-create beyond the chat function. By creating connection and blending our work environments, these apps can support seamless digital collaboration.

Bridging the gap between home and the office, digital infrastructure can connect people to organisations in new ways. We must continue to explore digital tools that can support our physical needs.

Re-entering the workplace: the human side of change section
Unlocking people’s potential in the new normal

Fluency and comfort in the work environment are key to harnessing potential and pushing boundaries. Digital fluency will have a return effect on the future workplace, to better support choice-based working.

Responses to lockdown have shown resilience, creativity and connectivity. We’ve seen innovation and new solutions. People have been given autonomy which has boosted motivation and productivity. 

The most successful changes happen when diverse teams come together in a unified direction. At M Moser we often act as a bridge between these groups, to ask the right questions and build the right mission for an organisation.

If you’re looking for advice on re-entrance to the workplace please contact: 

Group Director, Nabil Sabet

Senior Associate - Strategy, Elfreda Chan

Senior Associate - Strategy, Grant Christofely

Associate - Strategy, Frances Gain

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