I’ve been thinking about all the things parents and teachers do to prepare kids for “Back to School” – supplies to get, books to order, routines to adjust. As my teenager prepares to make this transition, he feels confident and excited because he knows what to expect, he understands what is expected of him, and he feels he has the tools to be successful.
My teenager sleeps very well at night. Many of my clients who are headed into their own uncertain or delayed transitions to return to office or starting new hybrid work arrangements are not. This leads me to one of the most important questions to ask right now, what can companies and leaders do to support their employees?
There are two overwhelming themes when it comes to return to office policies – uncertainty and upheaval. Regardless of how long someone has worked at a company, this extended time away from the office and, in many cases, a high turnover rate, has left many employees feeling those “back to school” jitters.
As return to office and hybrid policies are being rolled out, it is important to realize the playbook to be successful in these new work arrangements needs to be rewritten and individuals need support as they pivot and create new ways of working.
To support your team (and yourself) during this time of uncertainty and upheaval, I’d like to invite you to lean on the VISION Framework to ensure you and your team have their Mojo activated.
V: Visualize your Mojo Motive
In this case, your goal is to facilitate a back-to-office transition for your team in a way that is positive and supportive. What will it look like when my team is feeling positive and supported when they return to the office/start hybrid work arrangements?
I: Interrupt your Inner Dialogue
Address concerns and hesitations head on to understand the objections and doubts you and your team may have about returning to the office. How can you activate your inner cheerleader to get ready for your new routine?
S: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Ask yourself, or start a conversation among your peers or leadership team regarding flexibility. What’s your appetite for trying new ways of working? How will you navigate uncertainty?
I: Iterate to Innovate
There will need to be lots of testing and learning to identify the most effective ways of working in this new context. Which aspects of full remote working do your employees want to keep? Which are they looking forward to saying goodbye to? Which aspects of in-office working are they most excited about?
O: Own Your Day
Returning to the office means a complete change of daily routines – how can you make this easier on your team members? What new rituals will you create? Could you lead a commitment to daily walks, coffee breaks, or instigate a “screen-less lunch” policy?
N: Notice What’s Working
Schedule some time for your own reflection each week and consider offering office hours or individual meetings to regularly check in with each team member to ask them what’s working and what they need to be successful. Depending on the size of your team, you could also make this a peer-reviewed process by having team members pair up and commit to reviewing their week prior together to discuss what fueled them and what was a drain to their productivity.
Of course, if you find yourself or your team in need of a helping hand, I’m here to support you during this time with my Activate your Mojo VISION program, or go deeper by facilitating a series of work sessions to help establish team culture, ways of work to foster engagement and create high performing teams.