As people head back to their workplaces and offices, managers and other team leaders are faced with questions about how to properly handle this transition. A leader in growth and performance, Eyal Gutentag, discussed some key lessons team leaders should take away from this situation in a recent interview with TMCNet.
1. A Non-Traditional Response
Eyal Gutentag’s number one takeaway for managers is that a traditional team leadership response just won’t be enough to help employees transition back to the workplace. The traditional response to times of crisis is to introduce new programming, new policies, and fiscal adjustments to assist with changes. But when employees have likely undergone severe emotional stress and are likely still apprehensive about returning to the workplace, a different response is required.
Eyal Gutentag advises managers and team leaders to see the situation as a “health crisis first and a financial crisis second”. It’s therefore important for managers to put the human side of team leadership first, forging closer personal relationships with employees and showing compassion for what they’ve been through. Putting business first can be tempting, but you’re more likely to return to business as usual if employees feel supported and prioritized.
2. Flexibility is Key
When asked about the first steps for team leaders, Eyal Gutentag places the emphasis on remaining flexible. It’s important for leaders to understand the possibility that not everyone may be ready to return to the office on the official “start” date. Some employees may be happier and more functional working remotely full time. Above all, ultimatums are discouraged, as they won’t really help anyone and may end up creating more problems.
This is where personal relationships can be really helpful, since touching base with individual employees is essential to know if they’re really prepared to come back to the office. Being flexible and open to compromise will help your employees feel safe and supported. And don’t be afraid to use incentives to get reluctant employees excited about coming back, such as free meals and a flexible schedule. Flexibility has the added bonus of increasing employee retention and making everyone a little happier to come to work in the morning.
3. Personal Connections
Eyal Gutentag Manager re-emphasizes the importance of individual employee connections during this transitional period. Working from home often leaves employees feeling alienated from the team, and connecting with them can help remind them of their importance and all they have to offer.
Plus, it’s good to know if anyone has any personal issues that may prevent them from coming back to the office right away. No matter how many employees return to the workplace, it’s vital to continue connecting and having team meetings regularly. Getting the whole office on the same page will help to dissipate fears and make the whole transition much easier for everyone.
If you take advice from anyone about transitioning back to the office, it may as well be an industry expert. Use Eyal Gutentag’s advice to make your team stronger and more prepared to take on challenges in the future.