How to Avoid Falling Into Old Habits in The Return to Work
Over the past two years, people’s professional routines have been significantly affected by the ongoing pandemic. Working from home was a huge adjustment and challenge for most professionals, some loving their newfound flexibility and others struggling, finding it chaotic and disruptive. Whether you loved it or hated it, working from home during the pandemic has forced us to discover and adopt new ways of working.
Many people have now acclimatised to the working from home lifestyle, however, once again routines have been disrupted. With vaccination rates at a high and restrictions easing across Australia, many businesses are returning to their pre-pandemic offices and practices.
So, what happens to your new ways of working when you return to the office?
Whilst it may be returning to business as usual, it is critical that employees do not have a complete reversal back into old habits and their new ways of working are continued.
Step 1: Identify dysfunctional practices
It is well known that humans are creators of habit, we fall naturally back into routines, manners and customs that are familiar to us. Old dysfunctional ways of working and knowledge can affect the adoption of new ones.
Practices that were a norm may no longer be required and should therefore be evaluated on how or if they will be implemented moving forward.
A big trend we are seeing from our clients is having meaningless meetings. Pre-pandemic, many of our clients were having daily meetings for the sake of having meetings, they lacked purpose or agenda. Employees were frustrated, disinterested, and felt like their time was being wasted. With no face-to-face interactions, working from home created a real drive around having a more focussed and scheduled approach to their meetings.
Step 2: Identifying and implementing new practices
Once you have evaluated what isn’t working, you should start to look at what is.
Identify which of the new ways of working have been successful and what you want to implement back in the office. To do this, you need to understand why they were successful and how can they be implemented and continued. New ways of working are more likely to be continued if employees are able to consciously recognise and implement them into their business-as-usual processes.
Put it to your employees, understand what worked well for them and what didn’t. Collate what was successful and document it into a common organisational ways of working that can be rolled out across the business.
Step 3: Create new habits
Once new ways of working have been rolled out and communicated it is critical that they are constantly reinforced. Employees won’t automatically internalise and implement these changes, they need to be constantly reminded. By encouraging updates, stories and communication of the benefits of adoption or even rewards and incentives will encourage employees to make more conscious decisions.
After some time, old ways of working will be forgotten, and new ways of working will become familiar and the new norm.
If your business is returning to the office and you want to help your employees from falling back into old habits and reinforcing their good ones, or some guidance around doing so, the team at TalentCode HR are always here to assist you. Feel free to call our team on 1300 559 585 for a discussion.