This spring will mark the first time many employees will be stepping foot into their physical offices in over two years, with Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft among the major companies having set their return-to-office dates for this month. Fast Company recently talked with Mark Crowley to find out how employees and their managers should prepare.
“People are asking: ‘Why should I come back?’ And I think pretending that everything is the same as it was two years ago might be the biggest mistake,” Crowley told the magazine. “If we don’t reinvent what we do when we come in, then why are we making people come in?”
Crowley suggests encouraging feedback, finding out why in-office work may be creating problems and solving those problems, such as allowing an employee to come in late in order to drop a child off at school. He said that managers should play the long game, “and know that how they treat their people in this moment will never be forgotten.”
Managers should also build and maintain trust, and design in-office days to involve collaboration and socialization. “And it’s not just in the first week back,” Crowley notes. “The whole idea is for an immersion, to give people that connection when they’re working together. They know what’s going on in each other’s lives. You know, their tanks are full; that is a really important component of this.”