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Confusion regarding office return makes it hard for leaders

With the conflicting articles surrounding whether we should go back to the office or not, it can be a really tricky time for leaders.

With some advice saying stay home if you can work from home, don't block the transport links and other advice from the government saying to return to the office to help get the economy back on it's feet - what do we do?

First and foremost your own company will have their own position on what action to take, so make sure you are following the guidelines and sharing those messages with your own team.

Some people in your team will be desperate to return and get away from difficult home situations or small home spaces, whilst other people will have enjoyed not having a commute. Some parents will be struggling even as the schools go back, because the wrap around care is no longer in place for many, meaning that the usual commute remains impossible.

At times like these, it is important that as a human leader, you engage and interact with each person as an individual. Treating the team as one entity is impossible right now with everyone having some many different needs and wants.

Start by establishing the position each of your team members is in - are they on their own, keen to return, or are they looking after relatives, or are they quite happy with the current situations.

Relay any company statements, many large organisations have stated their position. For example, Google have stated that all of their 200,000 staff will remain home workers until 2021. Whilst Barclays and NatWest have said that they want to see an 'eventual' return to the office.

Whatever the position of your company, take a temperature check of your team members and relay that information to your own leaders to make sure that all scenarios are being catered for. Treating everyone individually will help the levels of productivity and reduce stress for all the employees. With a YouGov Survey showing that responses about a return to the office are subtly different between younger and older workers it is important to understand reasons from everyone.


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