DOs and DON’Ts of Returning to Work post Lockdown - A Leadership Perspective

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Watching the pictures of the beaches of Britain this week made me think we are on the cusp of managing either a safe return and a steadily recovering economy or a catastrophic second wave. Agree with Government or not (not my point here) that binary decision is most likely down to all of us.

So, now comes the provocation…

If you are a leader responsible for making decisions about returning to site/office, here’s my own view of the DOs and DON’Ts:

DO be clear that there is an absolute BUSINESS NEED for anyone returning to site or office from WFH.

DON’T bring them back because YOU want them there, because you can’t trust or you want people round you. It’s not about you. For more thinking on this read Simon Sinek’s Book “Leaders Eat Last”.

DO be more flexible.

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DO empower and delegate but remember not everyone takes delegation the same way you do.

DO check how EVERY individual feels about returning to the office – some will be ok, some less so.

DO listen to everyone’s different views, they won’t all be the same as yours, respect that and act accordingly.

DO remember everyone’s perception is their own reality, and cues (visual, emotional) are more difficult working remotely/virtually.

DO check on the wellbeing of those returning to work and those still WFH at regular intervals.

DON’T delegate this task routinely and only to those you have trust in to engage in the way you want. This will take time, that’s Leadership!

DON’T assume that once people return to office, everything is OK, keep checking.

DON’T forget those still WFH, remain as engaged with them as you have been in full lockdown (I’m making the assumption you have been actively engaging with your team!).

DO remember that it is the junior levels, the lowest paid, that actually keep things going. Remember the garbage collectors, the postmen, the delivery drivers, the care workers, the shop assistants who kept (and keep) the country going in full lockdown, apply that same thought to your own team and organisation and act accordingly.

DO actively listen to your team.

DO share your own experiences, concerns and vulnerabilities.

DO engage those at home in how you can do things better going forward.

DO provide feedback openly and honestly on ideas shared or raised.

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DON’T forget to look after yourself too…..

DON’T assume because people say they are OK, they are OK!

DO recognise it’s OK not to be OK

DO Lead.

This isn't a complete, or even correct list, so, in the spirit of Cadbury’s crème eggs, “How do you eat yours?” .. what do you think?

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