How to design a “Welcome Back to the Office” letter

Once the pandemic is over and employees are back at the office, nothing is better than greeting them with a “Welcome back to the office” letter. Learn what your letter should include!

Businesses across the country have endured major losses as a result of COVID-19. Yet one of the greatest challenges may still be ahead for business owners and their HR teams: creating safe workplaces so employees can return with confidence. Employers cannot realistically expect to simply open their doors and have employees return to old routines and levels of productivity. Employers and their HR teams need to be thinking ahead and planning accordingly to address these challenges and distractions. They need to be proactive, strategic, and thoughtful in their approach in order to create cultures of certainty, confidence, and safety amid the turbulence and chaos. Read this blog to find out how to design a ‘Welcome Back to the Office’ letter.

A recent poll from Citrix said that 64% of workers aren’t comfortable returning to the office for at least another month or more. One of the ways organizations can welcome employees back and give them a quick update on the new policies and procedures they will need to know is via a welcome letter. It can be in written form or on video. Maybe even a little of both. It should be stating and clearing all the doubts and questions that might be in their minds and giving them every safety that is needed. A warm welcome letter can help to lift up the moods of their employees once they are back at work, and can help them get used to the “old normal” yet again.

Following are a few of the things employers should include in their welcome back letter

Welcome employees back to the workplace

Make sure that your employees feel welcomed back into their workplace. Do not mention work in the letter as they should not feel burdened right from the first day back at work. Keep it as simple as possible. It’s possible that employees will arrive in phases based on their role in the organization and it might be good to share that with everyone. Take the opportunity to remind them of company policies that are relevant, and use the time to update your crew on the new policies that have been put in place to ensure safety and health. Now more than ever, it’s essential to do everything you can (as a team) to keep your community happy and healthy. So assume that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the adjustment of returning to the office.

A Message from the CEO

The only thing we’re certain of right now is that this is an uncertain time. It might be tempting to move forward as if the strangeness is over and in the past, but realistically, we’ll continue to see changes in the future. This could be the perfect time to have the company’s CEO record a video welcoming employees back and talking about the re-entry process.

Talk about employee safety

Many employers are requesting that employees wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Some organizations are conducting temperature checks. In order to design a ‘welcome back to the office’ letter, it’s important to share this information with employees before they arrive. And if they’re not feeling well, employees should stay home. Make sure that all safety measures are strictly followed and that no one’s life is put in danger. Always keep the option of working from home open in such scenarios and be flexible.

Discuss social distancing in the workplace

One of the most important aspects preached and followed throughout this entire pandemic is the maintenance of social distancing. It is the only tool to avoid yourself from getting infected- at least somehow it helps and protects your near and dear ones too in this situation. Depending on your office layout, it’s possible that employees will have to distance themselves in the work environment. They should know that ahead of time. Same thing if employees will be asked to travel in one direction around the office (you know like we’re doing at the grocery store.)

Share the break-room situation

A lot of offices have their own built-in break rooms, which are strong competitors of coffee houses and lounges worldwide. If the rules are going to change regarding free beverages and snacks, employees need to know. Same with the rules for the community refrigerator. Mention the rules for social distancing and ordering beforehand so that employees how such break rooms are going to function.

Offer a training session

Organizations might have new rules regarding customer interactions after the pandemic. It would only make some sense to develop micro-learning sessions to cover those new operational guidelines. Employees can view them prior to their first day back at the worksite.

Explain the consequences of non-compliance

These new rules were not created for the fun of it. In many cases, they’re being mandated by the state and/or local government. Employees should be told in advance what happens if they are not compliant with the regulations. This isn’t designed to be confrontational. It is to make sure that everyone — employees and customers — stay safe.

Tell employees where to direct concerns.

It’s possible that situations will arise that no one expected. Government agencies are changing their guidance based on any new information that they receive. Employees should feel comfortable asking questions (and getting answers). Let them know the process as you design the ‘welcome back to the office’ letter.

Facilities in office

After everything becomes operational, a lot of new facilities might be introduced in offices and some of them changed. These changes could be the installation of sanitizing machines, only takeaways from the break rooms, sensor-based equipment, the presence of only 5–10 people at a time in the cafeterias, bins for disposing of masks and machines/allotments for availing new masks, etc. Make sure that employees know all about it.

Open areas

The most important point to be considered is to make sufficient arrangements for open spaces with facilities for sitting/standing at fairly distanced locations, following all the required norms. Having ample such spaces in the office can provide every employee with an opportunity of interacting with others from required distances while maintaining their safety as well. These open areas are to be a must once offices reopen.

So treat this time of return like the celebration that it really is. Break out the signs, the balloons, the presents, and get excited to be back to sharing space with your talented team. No matter what you do to welcome them back, make sure your staff knows just how essential they really are. However, please make sure to follow all your local and state guidelines as applicable to your location and stay safe!

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Suchismita Panda