Rituals have the ability to reduce anxiety in the people who use them. Whether it is how we psych ourselves up for a big pitch or attend a networking event, rituals help to calm nerves in uncertain situations, set a tone for a day or moment, and strengthen bonds between team members. But rituals require routine, which many employees are lacking while working from home.
The environment in which these rituals were developed is no longer the one in which we currently exist. There is a lot of conversation surrounding social distancing measures as they relate to office space. The focus becomes how to keep people safe, which has a cultural and mental impact on established office dynamics. Understanding and addressing these impacts on the company is what Change Communication is all about. Change Communication finds ways to create order in the uncertainty through the development of protocols and office etiquette. By examining past rituals and the ones established while working from home, VC can determine the factors that lead to insecurities in your workplace.
That said, the upheaval employees are facing will likely increase their tolerance for change because they already understand that there is no going back to the way things were. Firstly, only a portion of the office will be returning due to phasing capacity restrictions. Secondly, how we move about the office and interact with colleagues is constrained by safe distancing guidelines. The schedules which people came to depend upon will shift, through the adoption of staggered arrival and departure times. Having protocols in place to manage new office dynamics will increase employee confidence when returning to work.
These protocols may focus on the establishment of increased transparency, regular and clear cleaning schedules, team check-ins, or dedicated time and space for mental health moments. With time, Change Communication will create a new routine for employees and help them form new rituals that give them a sense of calm in the current COVID-19 environment.
Read our full white paper “Adapting your Office in the Wake of COVID-19“.