Return To Office: 7 Ways To Make A Memorable Welcome To Your Team
Returning to the office after a long absence can be daunting for employees. Many are excited to get back to the workplace and see their colleagues face-to-face, but many are also still nervous about the risks of coronavirus or facing new challenges outside of their home.
Planning your return to the office should include a thoughtfully prepared welcome back program that makes the transition easier and provides a framework for rebuilding relationships and trust with your colleagues.
As an HR professional, you have a responsibility to ensure that your team feels safe and supported as they adjust to returning to work. You will want to acknowledge the fact that we have all been through a lot, but you also want to look forward to better days ahead. It is important that you make your team members feel valued, appreciated and motivated when they come back to work.
Here Are 7 Fun Ideas You Can Use To Welcome Your Team Back.
1. Send A Personalized Welcome And Hygiene Kit Before They Return To Office
If you’re planning on welcoming your employees back in person, consider surprising them with a personalized welcome kit just a few days or a week before they actually return to office. This can be a great opportunity for you to show them how much you’ve missed them and let them know that their safety is a top priority for you.
Whether it’s an employee recognition card, hand sanitizer, or branded face mask, giving out thoughtful gifts is an excellent way of showing appreciation for your employees and making sure they feel safe when coming back into the office.
2. Personalize Their Desk Space
The moment your remote employee returns to the office and reaches their desk, they should be given a gift. It can be as simple as a small welcome back note with chocolates or something more elaborate like a team kit with company branded items. Print out a photo of them with their family or something else that makes them happy or have, leave a bagful of their favorite sweets or biscuits on their desk as a little treat.
You can also stick a thoughtful note on their desk that will mean much more than a gift, but if you can afford it, give them both! A personalized message from the CEO would make any employee’s day and help them feel valued and appreciated after being away for so long.
3. Surprise Them With Their Lunch
Surprise them with lunch delivered from their favorite restaurants. This could be either on their first day back or on a weekly basis.
Hosting a company lunch is an easy way to get everyone together in one place after months of being apart! Take the team out for lunch or order takeout, whatever is the safest option for you.
Here are some things to consider when planning this event:
• Make sure you've got enough distance between each person to keep everyone safe.
• Choose a location near the office (or in it if there's space). A park, restaurant or patio is a good choice.
• Keep it fun and engaging by doing things like playing music, guessing "this or that," or having everyone share their funniest work-from-home story.
4. Throw A Theme Party
It's time for some fun! Celebrate your team's return to the office with a party. Have a cake cutting ceremony, or throw an after-office party and invite everyone along with their families. You can also go bowling with your team.
The theme of the celebration doesn't have to be anything special; it just needs to be fun and memorable! Hosting themed parties is also a great way to boost employee engagement
You can celebrate many different things in the office. The most important thing is to take the time to recognize and appreciate your team during this celebration. Here we have listed a few ways to make your team feels appreciated, connected and valued while having fun:
- Recognize your team members' individual accomplishments since the beginning of the pandemic till now.
- Let your employees share their ups and downs in the journey of large projects they did during the remote work
5. Organize A Social Distancing Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a fun way to enjoy a group activity, and they're definitely more than just for kids. Scavenging is a game of competition, creativity and communication that teaches important skills like teambuilding and cooperation. And this can help in breaking the barriers among your employees. To really get the most out of this event, it's beneficial to plan ahead and organize your hunt around a central theme—and there are plenty of themes to choose from!
Here are some ideas:
- Boss vs. employee scavenger hunt
- Scavenger hunt for hints about the future
- Scavenger hunt as an inside joke at work
- A scavenger hunt on the day you start a new job
6. Start With Some Icebreakers And Team Building Fun On Day One
Start with some icebreakers and team building fun on day one. Have an agenda to help the team get back on track. Since it will be a while before they can go out on lunches and catch up with each other over off-sites, start by having icebreaker sessions at work. It would be a great idea to have a short one after lunch or during the tea break so everyone gets an opportunity to interact with each other before jumping back into work. You could also start planning for some serious icebreakers when the entire team comes together in one room. Plan a icebreaker sessions in a way to help the team get to know each other again
Add a few more welcome back touches to truly ensure that your team has a fun and memorable experience upon their return to office. Be ready with a fun office scavenger hunt and other fun team activities to get them working again to form a good bond amongst themselves.
Remember to keep things positive, even if they have been noticing some problems and productivity has been falling in recent years. Resist the urge, today is not the day for reprimanding.
We hope you have found these six ways useful for you and you will be able to successfully welcome your team back to the office and deal with the transition.
Bonus: If you are worried about a lack of expertise in planning a perfect welcome to your employees returning back to office in 2022, our experts can help you. Talk to our experts with more than 30+ years of experience who can help you plan a memorable experience to welcome your employees.