Inevitably there will be nervousness as well as excitement amongst team members as we go through the change adjusting to the return to the workplace, the end of furlough and the end (or indeed the continuation) of remote working.
Some businesses are aiming to restructure their workforce by having fewer days in the office, potentially creating a cultural shift. Clearly there are positives to this, but there are some negatives, for example a lack of connection and social interaction. Both are important aspects of people’s work life.
How can these potential downsides be mitigated? By introducing wellbeing initiatives to bring people together in a social environment.
There are three key steps to take:
- Creating or updating a well-designed, comprehensive wellbeing plan that is then shared with your team
- Say thank you, and start rebuilding relationships with a ‘Welcome Back’ day
- An ongoing schedule of wellbeing events that will help look after your staff, build relationships, boost productivity, reward work well done, and show you really care about your team’s mental health.
Your wellbeing plan
An effective wellbeing plan for any business should be a shared document of information, that everyone has read and has access to. It should reflect the ethos and culture of the business.
The wellbeing plan details how the business looks after its employees in addition to the traditional benefits like gym memberships and holiday days.
For example, it could include a list of events funded by the business that employees across the workplace can attend. Choosing activities that focus on wellbeing can have a hugely positive effect. They build morale, embed the culture, help develop and strengthen relationships, and ensure that employees are looked after, as well as knowing how to look after themselves and each other. These events work especially well if the experiences / activities are engaging and fun – rather than always about work.
Although wellbeing is very difficult to measure and some benefits are intangible, an effectively delivered wellbeing plan can improve many areas of the business, so keep a log of the improvements; some will be measurable, some anecdotal. But success is a motivator, being back together after 15 months or so is something worth celebrating.
A warm welcome back
A ‘Welcome Back’ day can help rebuild connections, introduce new people to the team, help smooth the transition to new ways of working, changed work schedules and being apart from colleagues.
By specifically organising a day with a wellbeing theme, you can address many of the remote working/return to work concerns that people may have in a safe, relaxed environment. An event or adventure away from the office, something that staff would happily choose to do themselves at the weekend is ideal.
Involve your staff in choosing the sort of day they want and the activities they’d like to take part in. This will demonstrate that the day is about them, not the business.
Providing you choose activities that are fun, and not just ’let’s talk about work and how much more we can do’ then this type of event can also be a great way to say thank you.
Schedule fun-focused wellbeing events
Bringing in regular, enjoyable, wellbeing-themed Away Days, perhaps on a monthly basis, that the entire workforce can benefit from, can help keep communication alive, relationships fresh and engagement high. Over time, the boost to morale will have everyone on board and working towards the goals and visions of the business, making it not only more productive but an employer of choice.
The scheduled events can be worked to create cross-selling and information sharing within the business and between departments, whilst strengthening those internal relations around the activities. Mixing fun and work creates a relaxed, open environment where ideas and creativity are more likely to flow and where they can be easily shared by individuals.
The wellbeing of your team is of paramount importance. It’s a good idea to revisit the concerns you may have had at the start of the pandemic. The concerns about keeping your team in touch and connected and, most importantly, retaining the sense of camaraderie that can be lost when people are working remotely. By communicating your plan to everyone and putting it into action, concerns will be alleviated, and people will feel relaxed as they reconnect.
By Craig Bulow, Corporate Away Days
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Craig Bulow is the founder of the Away Days Group. Corporate Away Days are a corporate wellbeing events company delivering engaging, inspiring and exciting events focussed on Mindfulness / Wellbeing and Reward / Recognition activities. Corporate Away Days also creates, designs and builds corporate wellbeing policies and provides leading experts for interactive workshops, seminars and talks on improving mental health and overall wellbeing.
Every Corporate Away Days event and activity is chosen with wellbeing as its focus, helping to encourage employee engagement, foster connections and build relationships within the business.