Anticipating the stages of any change can help ease the transition. The process of Change Management can often be overlooked. But it is crucial to prepare, support and help employees, teams and companies in making the changes.
We all react differently to even the smallest of changes that take place, whether it is at work or at home. When done right, clear communication, generating an understanding, accountability and ownership can help create excitement amongst employees.
In this article:
What should change leaders do?
There is a lot that change champions can do to support employees and help them thrive. But it is a challenge to lead this change when you are learning how to work remotely for the first time yourself. Yes, there are companies that have decided to get rid of the office and become a remote company way before the pandemic hit, but they have had many months of discussions, meeting, consultation and putting a plan in place.
The preparation to support employees is a major part of the process. But how can anyone be prepared for a pandemic? We have now all encountered this life-changing shift in the way we work. Some organisations have supported their employees by having regular 1:1’s, frequent team meetings, online socials, and some would even say they have experienced death by Zoom!
The Great Shift to remote
The shift to remote working has generated a demand for additional resources, systems and processes that make working from home possible – none of which guarantees a success to the transition. Change Leaders have had to reconsider how this change can impact performance; companies that have had a strict regiment on time and place of work have had to provide more flexibility for people to manage home-schooling, for example.
This aspect of ‘change’ has been difficult on many companies too. Change is extremely complex. Onboarding new employees is a continual process but we have needed to change the way we interview, support new starters, create a sense of togetherness and belonging. Supporting managers with a remotely growing team has also been a significant part of a Change Leaders role.
The process of Change Management includes support
Most of us have helped support employees and companies when making the shift to remote working. But have you thought about how you are going to support your employees go back into the office? Sounds simple right? Going back to the way we used to work – it won’t be easy. And its not just because you have to set up sanitising stations and consider sitting 1m apart, this change is extremely complex and here’s why a clear execution needs to be considered – some of us have been working from home for almost a year and half.
Do it in phases
Ease them back in! Think of it like manging a phase return. When an employee is off work due to sickness or any other form of leave, for a long period of time, Companies often support the transition back in to work through a phase return. Employees have been working from home, but physically they have been absent from the head office/commercial place of work (note how I didn’t use the term ‘office’ because for most of us our home has become our office).
Whatever change you’re making, remember to keep your employees involved and communicate as frequent as possible, in meetings and in writing!