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How to Return to Work Post-COVID

As COVID-19 vaccinations become widespread and infection rates decline, many businesses are discussing how they can return to their workspace safely while accommodating the new work styles that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s the right way to go back? Would your team work efficiently in a new or modified format? Keep reading to learn more about how your business can combine remote and in-office work or even shift its business model to maintain a cohesive and productive team after COVID-19.

1. Turn to your employees and stakeholders for ideas.

Your employees are your strongest asset – and the ones most affected by any changes to workplace rules. Conduct a survey of your employees to determine how and when they would feel comfortable returning to work. Be sure to welcome and encourage innovative ideas regarding returning to your workplace. If you’re a solo entrepreneur or a one-person team, think about what would work best for your customers, clients, or other stakeholders. Do they prefer to meet in person? Do they prefer to have a physical location to visit you in, or are they accepting of virtual meetings? Would it be more cost-effective for you to work or attend meetings in a coworking space as needed, and work remotely most of the time? Use these insights from your industry, employees, and customers to lead your plan.

2. Choose a return model that makes sense for your business.

Every business has different needs, policies, processes, and clientele. Even businesses in the same industry or with similar product offerings operate differently! Keeping this in mind, and using the information you gathered from your employees and stakeholders, choose a return model that works best for your business. According to the Harvard Business Review, there are five primary models that businesses have been implementing for work after the pandemic. Options include returning to “business as usual,” meaning going back to work the way it was before the pandemic, hybrid models combining remote and office work, and all-remote options.

3. Use this time as an opportunity for growth and positive change.

You have been given the gift of opportunity – opportunity for reflection, opportunity for growth, and opportunity for positive change. Use this time to evaluate your previous business practices and determine if they should be modified. Is this the right time to hire a new employee? Could this be the right time to improve your internal processes or upgrade your product offerings? In the same survey to employees and stakeholders, ask for opinions about current processes and what positive changes may go hand in hand with your post-COVID work model.

While the pandemic hasn’t completely gone away yet, we are beginning to see the end approaching. Now is the time to plan for your business’s workplace updates and strategies post-pandemic, and ensure that those changes are beneficial to your key stakeholders. If you need a physical workspace in Maine, contact the Union River Center for Innovation today to learn more about our private offices and coworking space.