As more people are getting vaccinated across the world, back-to-office anxiety is gripping working professionals. Are health risks the central issues, or are they worried about handling household necessities? The majority of the workers were happier working from home though they had their fair share of problems. In this article at Harvard Business Review, Amy Gallo shares steps to reduce employees’ back-to-office anxiety.
Addressing Back-to-Office Anxiety
While some people are eager to return to their physical offices, some think otherwise. If upper management wants to reopen the office, leaders must find a middle path to entice their team members. Forcing people will only increase the attrition rate. Here are ways you can reduce employees’ back-to-office anxiety:
Conduct an Anonymous Survey
You will not get a proper response from people because they are scared they might lose their job. HBR professor Linda Hill explains, “People are fearful of looking weak or not living up to expectations.” Create a safe space for them by conducting an anonymous survey. You can then address those concerns in team meetings without pinpointing anyone.
Acknowledge Their Concerns
Let the team members talk about their back-to-office anxiety openly. If you start giving positive advice, they might feel you are dismissing their fears for the company’s sake. Instead of being superlatively assertive or negative, be neutral to let associates work through their anxiety. According to Brianna Caza, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, “Leaders who model ambivalence can create a culture where people adapt and pivot more easily.”
You must understand that people had to undergo a lot of things in this pandemic. So, reducing back-to-office anxiety is the least you can do for them. Per a new survey, 58 percent of workers were ready to quit if they did not get remote work options. In fact, 65 percent of them wanted permanent work from home, while 35 percent were prepared for a hybrid work setup.
Provide Valid Reasons
Explain why management wants to reopen offices. Ensure that you have irrefutable logic behind it. Be ready to validate why senior management thinks physical offices will bring more productivity than remote work. Forcing employees to come to the office without a valid reason will not sit well with them.
Instead of increasing back-to-office anxiety for all, start with a single team first. Involve people in your decision-making so that they know what to expect. Explore the options and be open to feedback.
Don’t Commit What You Can’t Deliver
Reopening offices will be a risk because people are still getting infected. Do not assure your employees that they never have to worry about health risks because there will always be risks. Speak the truth to reduce their back-to-office anxiety.
To view the original article in full, visit the following link: https://hbr.org/2021/07/help-your-employees-who-are-anxious-about-returning-to-the-office