- Due to COVID-19, home-based businesses have become widespread, with a 24% increase in new applications.
- As businesses reopen, transitioning from home to the office can be challenging, and employees need support.
- Businesses can create a successful transition by building a flexible, comfortable, and collaborative office environment, assessing the impact of changes, and ensuring that technology is available.
- Employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity are crucial to maintaining a positive workplace culture, but if the transition back to the office is poorly managed, businesses risk high turnover rates.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, home-based businesses have become increasingly popular due to the necessity of social distancing and remote work. A recent report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the number of new business applications among those that identify as “home-based” has increased by 24% compared to the previous year.
This trend is especially prevalent in the United States, where a study by the Small Business Administration found that approximately 50% of all small businesses are home-based. This statistic highlights the significant role that home-based companies play in the American economy.
However, businesses are starting to reopen, and many are returning to the office. This shift can be difficult for those accustomed to working from home, so it is essential to understand how to make this transition as smooth as possible.
When transitioning from home-based business operations back into an office setting, several steps should be taken to ensure a successful transition. Here are a few of them.
Establish Guidelines for Employees
One of the critical factors in transitioning back to an office setting is ensuring that employees are adequately supported through the change. Many employees have become accustomed to working from home over the past year, and the shift back to an office environment can be challenging.
Studies have shown that employees who receive support during change are more likely to adapt quickly and remain productive. In contrast, those who feel unsupported may struggle, leading to decreased morale and increased absenteeism.
Furthermore, employee satisfaction and engagement are critical in maintaining a positive workplace culture. If employees feel that their needs and concerns are not being taken seriously, they may become disengaged and more likely to leave the company.
Of course, you cannot expect employees to feel like the transition is a good idea. Many businesses receive high turnover rates due to changing remote work arrangements to onsite.
Build the Office
As businesses transition from home-based operations back to office settings, it is essential to consider how the office environment can support the needs of employees and business needs. Building the office as a home-based business can help create a successful transition and ensure employees feel comfortable and productive in the new environment. Here are some strategies to consider:
Create a Flexible Workspace
Creating a flexible workspace is crucial to support the changing needs of employees. Many employees have become accustomed to the flexibility of working from home and may struggle with a rigid office structure. By creating a flexible workspace, employers can give employees more control over their environment, allowing them to personalize the space to meet their needs.
Focus on Employee Comfort
Comfort is a critical factor in employee satisfaction and productivity. Ensure that workstations and seating are ergonomic and comfortable. Providing natural light, including plants, and incorporating indoor air quality systems can create a healthy workspace. Additionally, consider amenities such as healthy snacks, coffee, and comfortable break areas to reduce employee stress and encourage collaboration.
Foster Collaboration and Communication
Many home-based businesses have succeeded due to tech-based communication, which sometimes lacks the social aspect of synchronous interactions. Having worked with people over video chat does not imply a fruitful relationship. The office setting provides an opportunity for in-person collaboration and communication, which is crucial to building a solid team culture.
While the office setting provides opportunities for in-person communication, technology remains a critical aspect of most businesses. Ensure that technology such as video conferencing, project management software, and cloud-based productivity tools are available and easy to use. This can streamline work processes and improve communication between team members.
Consider partnering with a commercial architectural design firm to create an office that suits the needs of your business and employees. They can help you evaluate the space and incorporate features that make a conducive working environment.
Assess the Impact of Business Change
Finally, assessing the impact of the transition from home-based operations back to an office setting is essential. The changes may affect employee morale, workflow, and productivity. It is necessary to measure these factors to identify and address any issues quickly.
Unfortunately, your transition back to the office may not get the results you hope. Be prepared to make changes, such as providing additional training or support for employees struggling with the shift. Returning to a remote setup might be the best option if all efforts do not work.
Following these steps, businesses can transition from home-based operations to an office setting without sacrificing productivity and employee morale. With the proper preparation, companies can ensure that their new office environment supports employee needs while being conducive to a thriving work environment.