As the pandemic starts to wind down, many companies are or are starting to think about bringing employees back into the office. After more than a year of working remotely, suffice to say, this is going to be as big of a pivot as it was to switch to remote work in the first place.

While many employees will continue to work from home, others expect to navigate a hybrid environment. Ultimately, the biggest concern is making sure your employees are happy, well, and enthusiastic about whatever may come, so this should be your priority.

Back to the Office Statistics

Here are some interesting statistics from CNBC on returning to work:

  • About half of the companies surveyed will adopt a hybrid work environment.
  • One-third of companies say they will prioritize in-person first.
  • 70% of Americans were working remotely as of April 2020.
  • Currently, about 56% are working from home, and 61% say they prefer working from home.
  • 70% of companies say they will have employees back in the office in some capacity by this fall.
  • 77% of employers favor a hybrid model through next year.
  • 28.8% will use a staggered or phased approach.

As there is no protocol around the process, employers need to take a measured but decisive approach. Employee wellbeing and satisfaction are the highest priority. Your people, after all, are your most valuable assets.

Productivity and performance must be optimized, but care must be taken to consider how adjusted schedules might impact teams,  goals, and morale.

Four Tools to Inform Your Back to the Office Plans

With these points in mind, here are four tools HR can use to ensure both employee performance and well-being are balanced and considered when shifting back to the office.

1.      The Check-In

Check-ins have been essential throughout the work from home era. It’s a way to get employees talking about what concerns them and a way for HR personnel and managers to gain a deeper understanding of how they’re really doing. As back to the office approaches and as you move through the process, use more frequent check-ins to ensure goals are on track and employees are adjusting well. HR can revise their performance management processes and workflows to ensure managers and employees are meeting frequently to discuss progress and provide valuable coaching and acknowledgement so employees know they are heard and valued.

2.      360˚ Reviews

Use 360˚ reviews and peer feedback to create a culture of joint accountability and shared performance expectations. Wherever your company is headed, it’s vital that you take your employees along for the ride. When employees know their opinions matter, they are more likely to look outside themselves and engage in productive dialogue that benefits the whole. 360°s are a powerful took for ensuring employees not only know that their actions and output have an impact, but they can also serve to identify trends or concerns in behavior or output.

3.      Use Surveys

Ask, ask, ask! Leverage user survey tools like pulse surveys, satisfaction surveys, and feedback to gauge the temperature of general sentiments, encourage ideas for new ways of working, and assess overall employee wellbeing. If you don’t ask, you won’t know, and it’s more important than ever to understand where your employees’ thoughts and energies are going. Surveys are an excellent way to check in, understand their needs, and receive feedback on how company decisions affect your people.

4.      Incorporate Values

Corporate value statements ensure internal and external stakeholders understand the priorities and behaviors that drive organizational success. Over the years, we have seen many companies adopt value into performance management programs and reviews to act as a unifying thread across all employees and to set standards of behavior and focus. This year, we are seeing this trend take off like gangbusters. Now more than ever, companies must ensure that hybrid staff and dispersed teams embody corporate values in everything they do. HR must ensure employees and managers understand what values mean and establish measures of accountability so that values are upheld every day – regardless of physical location or role.

emPerform: The Right Software at the Right Time

The right technology makes short work of managing even the most monumental changes. As we begin to cautiously emerge from a time of great uncertainty, we take what we’ve learned and carry it forward.

Over the past months, we’ve done a lot to flow with the changes that came our way. Most people—most companies, too—are better for the experience in many ways. But if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we can’t for a moment overlook the value of our employees and how important it is to ensure they feel valued and heard. The better we hear what they have to say, the more meaningful the road ahead will be, and emPerform supports those ideals.

emPerform offers the capability and flexibility to adjust and revisit goals, monitor and track progress, and give employees and managers one central location to track achievements, results, and opportunities. emPerform supports all critical back to the office activities, including online surveys, pulse surveys, satisfaction surveys, performance reviews, 360 reviews, feedback, check-ins, and much more. By automating these critical functions, you’ll have all the data you need to make in-time decisions that work for everybody and the insight you’ll need to navigate back-to-the-office programs and their impact on not only performance, but employee wellness.

Most importantly, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters most—your employees, their happiness, and their wellbeing. Get started today, and give your workforce a voice in your future.