What Will Your Team Culture Be When We Return to Business as Usual?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting during this “shelter in place” season we’re in.  I miss seeing my coworker, Sandy, and all of the clients we go on-site to support.  I’m an extrovert, so while Zoom and phone calls have helped soften the blow of remoteness, I can’t wait to get back to business as usual.  And, then I stop to think, what will that be?  What can it be?

I avoid thinking when will that be – it’s out of my control and a downer.

I’ve been thinking about how we will regather our teams, what will the first day with everyone back at work be like?  Whether your business is teleworking, temporally closed, has layoffs or furloughs, or everyone is standing 6 feet part, what will it be like when COVID-19 is a distant nightmarish memory?  And then it occurred to me, we get to shape that!  We can leave behind all of the patterns and habits that didn’t serve us before!  You know, the things and/or meetings you dread.  Just that thought brought me inspiration and a fresh sheet of paper to start my list.  I entitled it “How Our New Normal Looks!” and started filling the page of what it will look like to welcome back my co-worker and go back out to our clients.  What a breath of fresh air, a fresh start really, as this situation gets tucked behind us.

What will you make your employee’s first day back experience include?  Will it be:

  • a welcome breakfast (lunch is just too far away)?
  • grill out Tuesdays in the summer and pizza Fridays the rest of the year?
  • some logoed gear on their desks?
  • a promised weekly happy hour (read https://milestoneshr.com/why-bother-with-an-employee-handbook/) those are allowed if done properly.
  • a personal note about what you, the leader, appreciate about that individual, waiting for them on their desk?
  • a weekly 1:1 lunch with someone on your team, for every team member, which focuses on getting to know them as a person (e.g. hobbies) every week of the year?
  • post-it notes wall of appreciation specific to the work that you do, the people who do the work, and the people you get to serve doing said work?
  • Or, all of these things and more?

And what will you leave behind?  You know, all the things and meetings that generate zero joy.  Make a list of those as well.  How can you eliminate them or inject some fun into them?  Can a meeting that always runs long start with a pre-meeting question that people bring solutions to?  Can it move to a standing or walking meeting?  Those always become shorter!  Can we use some of the remote working efficiencies to change up what we did pre-coronavirus?  Absolutely!  And, we have time to think about them right now.

So, the call to action is to start your two lists!  One will be more fun than the other – I can attest to that!  It will also put a new spring in your step, true or true?  I look forward to seeing many of you again.  I’m a hugger, we’ll see if that is now a thing of the past.

By:  Angie Addison, SHRM-CP, PHR