With the coronavirus vaccine rollout continuing at pace, many businesses are looking again at how – and where – people will work in future. If you’re anticipating a return to the traditional office, there are ways to make the transition a smooth and easy one.

1. Communicate

Communication is key when shifting back to office-based working, to ensure everyone is brought up to speed, but also listened to. Thankfully, tools such as online feedback portals can help. These allow staff members to submit their thoughts (or concerns) in a safe environment. Anyone can raise their issues privately and at their own pace – so are more likely to come forward with them.

2. Stagger the return

Not everyone will be ready to jump back into office-based work, so businesses are advised to ease back in gently. Maybe go with a hybrid working model to begin, allowing those who are uncertain the time to readjust. Technologies you have relied on over the past 12 months will still be there to keep productivity and communication high.

3. Keep up with the guidelines

Business requiring staff to return need to ensure they’re following the latest government guidelines. Safety should be paramount, not just to keep workers healthy and happy, but avoid the PR fallout that would come from an outbreak or report from a whistle-blower. Follow the latest guidelines – and do more where possible – to stop problems emerging in the first place.

4. Consider individual needs

Though two people may be doing the exact same job, their personal circumstances potentially couldn’t be more different. Whether they have primary carer duties, underlying health conditions or children to look after, there could be myriad things on their mind outside of the office. So work with people on an individual level to see what specific changes that came from the pandemic might be worth keeping.

5. Engender trust

Though home working has left many people out of the eyeline of their boss, trust and productivity shouldn’t take a hit. The Quality Edit’s Lauren Kleinman told leavedates.com: “Companies will be more forward-thinking in trusting employees now that new communication and productivity tools have been implemented and adapted.

“Managers have had the time to implement new approaches to managing employees, eliminating the need to physically watch employees’ every move. More companies are meeting employees where they’re at, giving them the flexibility to work on their own terms, as long as performance and objectives continue to be met.”