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Managing Office Morale


The last 18 months have been a roller coaster for many of us: ups, downs, and lots of unexpected loops. At some point, many of us have thought, “I can’t wait for things to get back to “normal.” Well that time is upon us. Higher education institutions around the country are well into the fall semester and many schools have opted to return to primarily in-person classes this fall. This means an increasing number of faculty and staff are in the office, in both hybrid and full-week capacities. If you have seen my last two write-ups in this series, you know feelings regarding the return to the office run the gamete; and even those who were enthusiastic about being in the office again, have needed time to adjust. This means office morale may not be at its highest. To help you boost your team (or your own) mood I have compiled a list of tips and activities that are sure to lessen the stress and boost confidence and enthusiasm in the office while we’re getting back in the swing of things.

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What Is Re-Boarding?

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The release of the coronavirus vaccinations has undoubtedly increased the frequency and depth of conversations surrounding businesses reopening. And while reopening procedures vary geographically and between companies, there is at least one consistent that companies and supervisors should consider: reboarding. Reboarding is a modified version of onboarding that seeks to refamiliarize employees who have been off or teleworking with general office procedures while encouraging managers to relearn their employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the way people and organizations function, their priorities, and in some instances, what they value. Below are a few tips to make bringing your employees back into the office a smoother process.

  1. Be prepared to reorient your employees and retrain them on office basics. After all, some people have been working from home for nearly a year.
  2. Recognize that your employees and coworkers have changed and grown. People’s mindsets and circumstances have changed, which has changed their wants and needs. Additionally, your employees may have gained self-awareness and undergone a professional growth spurt.1
  3. Know which employees are more productive in the office versus who works best at home?1
  4.  “Guard against ‘Prove-it’ Burnout.” Encourage employees to take breaks; likewise, discourage those teleworking from working more than they work in the office.1
  5. Communication is key. Frequent and honest communication helps people feel more comfortable and less anxious about change.2,3
  6. Be empathic: consider that not everyone’s feelings are the same regarding the pandemic or about returning to the office.2

To conclude, for many of us, much has changed both personally and professionally. Thus, it is advantageous for employers to be conscious of how these changes have manifested in their employees and respond accordingly. 

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