The ‘new normal’ – that’s what we’ve been attempting to imagine for the past five months. Restaurants are opening their doors and patios, families and friends are reconnecting, and workplaces are inviting their employees back to the office. The ‘new normal’ is here, but what does it look like?

Our team has turned to good books, Netflix, passion projects, and of course, each other during this crisis, but it was only recently that we began to picture what the ‘new normal’ would look like in our own day-to-day. Together, we’ve compiled a list of tactics we’re going to deploy as we head back to our highly sanitized desks:

01. Team Up and Clean Up

Now more than ever, office cleanliness is a priority. To keep up with regular sanitation practices and encourage socially distanced interaction between our employees, we’re assigning a ten to fifteen minute time block each day for everyone to participate in a full office clean – wiping down door handles, desks, chairs, and common spaces. While this may seem like a tedious task, a little music (we love an upbeat 90s playlist) and some good ol’ catch up can go a long way.

02. Encourage Social Eating

The clock finally strikes noon and you smirk at your colleague beside you (2 metres apart of course), “Ah, it’s lunchtime!” Even with in-office restrictions, the pleasure of eating lunch together doesn’t have to be over. Encourage employees to turn off their monitors, roll their chairs around and enjoy a socially-distanced lunch from their desks.

03. Treat Your Team

While there’s an indefinite hold on in-office potlucks, shared dishes and desserts aren’t the only way to treat your team! Try an office subscription box like The Balanced Snackbox or Hunger Hankerings and allow employees to choose a sweet or salty desk snack. As they say, ‘paychecks can’t buy passion.’

04. Continue to Offer Flexibility

Be considerate of your employees’ emotions when transitioning back to the office. Do so by offering flexible work hours and allowing your team to ease back into a full-time in-office schedule once they are comfortable.

05. Encourage Team Building

To continue to build a positive work environment and nurture trust among your employees, set aside one hour per week for your team to connect with a coffee or a cocktail, and video call in those working from home. This hour can be used to play a game like JackBox or Charades or to hold a group learning seminar, all while maintaining a physical distance.

06. Show Signs That You Care

Let your team know that safety is your company’s number one priority, but be creative in your communication! For example: consider creating a series of fun signs and posters to gently direct team members towards good safety habits, such as wearing a mask or using contactless door openers around the office. Alternatively, feel free to make use of the punny-poster series we designed for use around our offices! Downloadable for free here.

No matter the course of action your team takes, there are plenty of resources available to make the transition more comfortable and smooth – all a Google search away. As we head back to our office fueled by caffeine and excitement to be reunited, we’ll continue to remain agile and in tune with best practices and safety trends with the hope that what’s ‘new’ can just start to feel ‘normal’ in the coming months.

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