Tips for making the return to work less stressful

After a long period of staying at home, many people are struggling with the idea of going back to work in the office. But with the right mindset and a few changes as well as a new focus on reward and recognition, you can make the transition back to work much easier for your employees. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for making the return to work less stressful.

Create a comfortable work environment

Studies have shown that a comfortable work environment can lead to a decrease in stress levels. This means that you should try to make the office as welcoming as possible for your employees. You can do this by encouraging a home from home environment. Perhaps on the first day back to HQ you could dedicate some time to getting them set up on their desks again – adding some personal touches, such as photos or plants, or by creating different areas for working and relaxing.

Prepare for the return by painting walls in bright colours – the best colours to encourage creativity are yellow and light blue – or adjust how and where they work with a focus on comfort. You can install standing desks, or get rid of the traditional office chair in favour of an exercise ball to promote movement, or perhaps you’d like to integrate healthcare and fitness discounts into your employee benefits stack.

Ask your teams what would make them comfier and what the best parts of home working were.

Get people comfortable with an icebreaker

On the first day of work, it can be helpful to break the ice with a fun activity. This will help people feel more relaxed and comfortable around each other. You could have everyone introduce themselves, tell a joke, or play a game.

This is also a great way to start building team morale and getting people excited about coming back again into the office environment.

Make a culture change

Make the transition back to work easier is by establishing a new ethos. A culture change that prioritizes work-life balance will be the biggest and best way to ensure employees are happy.

To ensure this works, management must lead by example, creating a positive attitude towards work and the environment and implementing new ways of working. This can help your employees feel more in control and less stressed out. Position the move back as a new era in your business, where they will be encouraged to have more balance, freedom and autonomy. Lay down tangible examples of what that will look like, whether it’s in time off for appointments, mental health days, or more reward and recognition.

Set realistic goals

Another way to make the transition back to work easier is by setting realistic goals. This means that you should not expect your employees to do everything at once. Instead, break down their tasks into smaller, more manageable goals. This will help them feel less overwhelmed about the new commute and change to their life. Be sure to schedule in some time each day to relax and rejuvenate. This can help reduce stress levels and allow your employees to better focus on their work.

Give them rewards

A gift card for their favourite coffee shop, an extra day off after completing a major project, or even just verbal praise can make all the difference to an employee’s attitude and rewards are critical to engage and encourage.

Rewarding your staff for good work is one of the best ways to show them that you appreciate their efforts and will help foster a positive relationship with your team. We recommend popping a Lifestyle Voucher on their desk for their arrival. It’s effective, simple to implement and says ‘we appreciate you.’ Who wouldn’t want that?