Preparing a return to office announcement letter
- State your plans
- Be sympathetic
- Open up a dialogue
- Lay out your expectations
- Create a filing system
- Create a seamless transition
Even in a digital format, there’s something classic about a letter. Unlike an email about donuts in the breakroom, letters signal a certain formality. That’s why they’re perfect for getting specific points across and keeping everyone in an organization on the same page, no matter how informal your communications usually are.
If you’re ready to welcome employees back to the office as the pandemic winds down, it makes sense to write a letter to employees to let them know that you’ve officially reopened the office. A letter that outlines your new policies and procedures in response to COVID-19 is the best way to inform your employees about your plans for resuming in-office work.
A clear and concise return to office announcement gives your employees the knowledge they need to work effectively and feel safe. Here are some tips on how to write one.
State your plans
It might sound simple, but the biggest goal of your return to office announcement should be to outline exactly how you’re going to execute the return.
What safety measures are you going to take? How will you sanitize your office? What protocols will you set in motion if employees are exposed to the virus?
Showing your employees you’ve considered all of these factors can go a long way in calming their fears.
The past year has been one of uncertainty. Doing everything you can to fill in some of these blanks in your return to office announcement reassures your employees and helps ease their apprehension.
While you need to clearly lay out your plans in your return to office announcement, your tone is equally important. You only get one shot at this letter, so make sure your approach is gentle and acknowledges the unprecedented situation you and your employees are in.
Though you need to be direct in establishing guidelines and expectations, the way you go about it can boost morale or sink it. For many, adapting to an office after a year of working from home will be difficult, so tell your employees you understand the challenges everyone faces in returning to the office.
You should also be sympathetic and offer your support and encouragement by listening to employees’ questions. Change can be scary — doubly so during the pandemic. Addressing these fears will make your employees feel heard and more excited about coming back to work.
Open up a dialogue
Coming back to the office means reestablishing the in-office culture you created before the pandemic. As a result, how you present yourself to your employees is as important as what you tell them.
Your letter is the starting point of your communication about post-pandemic protocols. Be clear that success depends on maintaining a two-way conversation between workers and managers.
Make sure your announcement tells your employees what you expect of them as well as how they can voice any worries. Listening to their concerns will help you to understand their behaviors, shape procedures, and prevent any hiccups once you come back to the office.
Lay out your expectations
According to a pre-pandemic report, 90 percent of employees always or sometimes go to work when they feel sick. With COVID-19 still around, that simply isn’t feasible — nor is it safe. That’s why maintaining proper protocols has to be a group effort.
You don’t want to have to send more than one return to office announcement. The best way to ensure the office stays open is for your employees to follow new in-office procedures.
For example, if you’re requiring masks, make sure employees know where to find them in the workplace. If you’re conducting temperature checks, tell them how often and when. Make sure they know when and where visitors are allowed as well.
Returning to work will be a fluid process, so you’ll need to be vigilant and get total buy-in across your organization. Make that point clear in your announcement to get your office restart off on the right foot.
Create a filing system
There are going to be a lot of moving parts when you and your employees come back. With this in mind, make sure you have the proper templates to prepare your announcement and accompanying paperwork, such as acknowledgement forms.
That’s where Jotform comes in handy. With its customizable form templates, you can design forms that meet your business’s needs and organize your return to work processes. Even better, Jotform’s third-party integrations ensure your new forms work with your existing software.
When performing a task as complex as returning to work in the wake of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, the simpler and faster your communication, the better. That’s why Jotform’s easy-to-use interface gives you an organizational advantage in writing a comprehensive return to office announcement.
Create a seamless transition
You should be excited about your return to the office. A year is a long time to go without seeing your coworkers, so the fact that you’re ready to be together again is a reason to celebrate. But you also have to remember to conduct your comeback as you would any other part of your operations.
Beginning your return to work without any roadblocks means being professional, addressing employee concerns, and creating a top-shelf return to office announcement with a platform like JotForm. As you begin to return to normal, having these systems in place will make the next year your best yet.