Pandemic-weary employers everywhere are striving to find the right solution when it comes to returning to the office. Yet, Jason Hughes’ San Diego-based commercial property company Hughes Marino says it is already nimbly navigating employees’ reentry into the workspace.
Hughes Marino’s leader, Jason Hughes, knows a thing or two about keeping employees happy: Fortune and Entrepreneur magazines have recognized Hughes Marino in San Diego and beyond for its workplace culture. Here are some strategies from Jason Hughes and the Hughes Marino team to make your company’s transition more seamless.
Jason Hughes’ Return-To-Work Strategy – In San Diego And Beyond
In March 2020, the team at Hughes Marino in San Diego, and other locations throughout the nation, went home—like millions of Americans—with the expectation that they would be back in the office within a few weeks. But those weeks stretched into months, making WFH the norm. Before companies target a return date, the Hughes Marino team recommends providing as much notice as possible to help employees prepare and adjust.
Jason Hughes also suggests developing a questionnaire, which can initiate conversations for families who may need a hybrid schedule or teammates who are still wary of being around others outside of their bubble.
Working Remotely Could Negatively Impact Work, Says Jason Hughes Of San Diego
While Zooming and Slacking can be productive, working from home cannot replicate the human connectivity and spontaneity that often sparks new ideas. Camaraderie can fall by the wayside, and employees can miss out on collaboration and mentorship. The team at Hughes Marino sees the value in face-to-face interaction and not only respects it but encourages it.
Jason Hughes And Hughes Marino Make Health And Safety A Priority
According to the team at Hughes Marino in San Diego, the most important way for a business to show its team it cares is by making health and safety a top priority, starting with enhanced sanitization measures. Be sure to supply your office with plenty of necessities, including hand sanitizer, soap, masks, and antibacterial wipes. Add in ample signage, reminding all staff to wash their hands regularly.
Businesses can also minimize outside guests from visiting unless previously approved by the company. Make your team members feel heard and validated by offering a virtual suggestion box via email, where they can safely and confidentially express any concerns. Be ready to change protocols if necessary.
Hughes Marino In San Diego And Nationwide Implemented Social Distancing
Social distancing and cramped office spaces don’t mix, but businesses can take action to spread out their teams without sacrificing interaction or productivity. If possible, station workers at every other desk; configure desks so that teammates face the same direction and utilize desk dividers. If opening windows is an option, let in fresh air or invest in a HEPA air filter. Make meeting times strategic and safe.
Encourage virtual meetings rather than gathering en masse in conference rooms. If that’s not possible, limit the number of people in a meeting and provide plenty of space in between. Hughes Marino’s in-house Planning + Design team offers physical distancing analysis services and strategies such as suggested travel paths through a workplace, potential furniture reconfigurations, and more streamlined communications strategies for your team. It’s essential to assess your entire floor plan and craft your socially-distanced seating arrangement.
Offer Flexible Scheduling Options
From nationwide polls to personal experiences at Hughes Marino’s San Diego headquarters, long commutes are often the No. 1 reason employees are less-than-eager to return to the office. While traffic can often be unavoidable, there are more tangible options. If your company can do so, offer alternative work schedules for your teammates to customize their workday. Be flexible with time.
Even a shift of 30 minutes can make the difference that slices a commute in half. If you can’t restructure a schedule, consider early Fridays to get a jump start on traffic, or offer a hybrid schedule of working from home and work. Either way, your team will notice and appreciate your efforts to make the transition back to the workplace easier.
Make It Fun
Returning to work will require some modifications, and businesses should make extra efforts to help everyone feel comfortable and appreciated as they welcome their teams back. A socially distanced reunion to boost company morale can help. So can fun employee incentives like gas cards, child and pet care stipends, catered lunches, mini care packages, or fun company field trips.
One Step At A Time
Business owners shouldn’t beat themselves up over whether or not they’re getting it right. Remember, we’re living and working in unprecedented times. Listen to your employees’ needs and let them guide the way—one day and one step at a time.
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