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Nobody Has Done This Before

When faced with a new task or situation, smart companies look for best practices or learnings from someone who has done the same, or similar, things. This can be a problem when what the company is about to undertake is so new that no one has done it before.

Which is what we have with the post-Covid world and returning to work. As vaccination rates continue to rise and we finally see the end of the tunnel, companies are starting to make plans for returning to work. In some cases, these returns will be to the exact situation as before. In other cases, companies have made changes to enable remote working or hybrid workforces. While a company may be able to pause and let other companies go first, most will all be learning at the same time.

In any case, there will be questions and confusions, trial and error, and even disagreements. It is imperative that the manager start talking NOW about expectations. If you aren't sure, be honest and say that. But start having the conversation. Some things to start discussing:

  • Fears, concerns, or worries - the employee's, the company's, and yours.

  • Anticipated or possible changes, and the potential impacts.

  • The ultimate goal (whether it be to return to a pre-Covid environment or to create a new culture).

  • How questions/concerns going forward should be raised and how will they be addressed.

The reality is that we will continue to be in upheaval for months after we have everyone safe and everything open. Setting expectations now and having the ability to talk about them will ensure that the upheaval is for the better.

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