The problem: What’s the new normal?
Cases are subsiding, mandates are loosening, even some employees themselves are saying they’d like to be back in the office. So employees are expecting to be working more from an office if they haven’t already. But as this return to the office continues, we need to realize that we’re not going back to the way things were. It’s not just that we’ve been out of practice for 2 years, we’re also transitioning to a new reality. One where the new rules of engagement are still being sorted out. Employees could be anxious about what’s expected of them when they come back to the office. Workers don’t need to be reminded of how things were, they need to know what the new normal is. So how do employers smoothly and safely re-acclimate their workers to the office?
The solution: Return-to-work videos
We were part of a team of video producers creating a collection of videos dealing with a variety of return-to-the-office issues. From educational topics like “What is a pathogen?” all the way to “How to conduct group meetings”.
The video series was created for the building specialists International Well Building Insitute. But I thought that this format could be useful for any employer needing to familiarize their workers with their new office expectations. Each video could be promoted individually through existing employee communication channels. Then housed in their own section of the company intranet or a dedicated microsite for employees to access at their leisure.
The mere fact that these videos exist would be a sign to workers that their employers understood their anxieties and cared about their safety. But aside from that, a video series of this sort has a few other advantages:
Videos are Scalable
Unless you can guarantee everyone will be returning at the same time on the same day, relying on a single, or worse, multiple, in-person sessions would be an inefficient use of company time. But with videos, there’s no limit to how many people can access the new recommendations or when. Once the videos are created, they can be used in a variety of situations; whether as part of an onboarding process or their own awareness campaign.
Videos are Preemptive
Our shift to a fully remote workplace was sudden and drastic, but transitioning to the new normal will be gradual. Even tech juggernauts like Microsoft, know they need wide windows of time to transition workers to their new working paradigms. But if the return-to-work videos are made available in time, employees could watch them before coming back to the office, so they can return prepared.
Videos are more Accessible
Another advantage of a series of videos over an in-person session is that every employee regardless of their current work situation will have access to the information. Whether they’re currently working from home, are typically away from their desk, or even if they’re on-site already, having a universally accessible set of videos can get each employee on the same page at their own speed, rewatching as needed.