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Returning to work: Top tips for reconnecting with colleagues

Published: Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Due to the recent pandemic, it is estimated that nearly 81% of the global workforce have their workplace either fully or partially closed. If you have had a long break from work, It might be either a much needed or an unwanted one. Yet despite the coronavirus halt in your routine, returning to work at some point is inevitable. Furthermore, there will be a certain revamp of the workplace culture. Therefore, you will need to get back into the correct groove to connect with your colleagues and get that teamwork up and running again. Following these simple tips can help in the smooth transition back into the workplace culture and ensure the much needed communication with your colleagues:

Prioritise health in the workplace when returning to work

Close up of entrepreneur woman applying hand sanitizer avoiding covid-19 infection sitting on a desk at home office

Your first and foremost concern must be proper attention towards health. A detailed communication with your colleagues and workplace management on the precautions regarding health measures can be very crucial. This will give a sense of confidence and with the right teamwork; everyone can ensure safety at the office. You can brainstorm different ideas and follow common protocols like wearing masks, gloves and keeping necessary distance for safe communication. This will generate a sense of health security when returning to work and your colleagues will be encouraged in the same.

Use more non-verbal communication tools

This will be a new cliché and an integral part of your revised workplace culture. Talk limited with each other. Try to use non-verbal platforms like text messages, emails, and hand gestures at the maximum. It will be challenging at the beginning, but will pave a way to establish new communication guidelines for the long term. You will notice that this will test the teamwork of you and your colleagues. An optimistic approach towards this will certainly reduce the chances of possible infections and other health hazards.

Smiling diverse female employees greeting bumping elbows at workplace, happy woman colleagues say hello in office, protect from coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, corona, healthcare concept

When returning to work help your vulnerable colleagues

Every organisation possesses people who are in more danger of contracting infectious diseases. They might be suffering from health issues like diabetes or weak immune systems. Nevertheless, they would want to return to work as well. If you have such colleagues, you must consider helping them more than ever. This is the best way to reconnect with them. You can offer to swap work where there is a dire need of human interaction. They can be given more remote work in some cases. You can try to adjust your leaves with them if needed.

Encourage household eating options

This is an important thing you can do as a co-worker. In such uncertain times, you can suggest that your colleagues bring homemade lunch at the workplace. This will eliminate risks of infection through usage of vending machines, common refrigerators and other cafeteria utensils. You can indirectly promote the idea of healthy eating and can make this concept an integral part of your workplace culture. Employers will prevent gathering of staff at lunch tables. The best thing you can do in this situation is to cooperate with such decisions and convey the importance to your colleagues if they disagree in some cases.

Businessman having a vegetables salad for lunch, healthy eating and lifestyle concept

Stay Calm And Don’t Stereotype

In the end, it all comes down to being a respectful coworker and treating each other with empathy. It will be challenging to reconnect again with your colleagues. Proper communication with each other and a good teamwork in practicing simple precautionary measures will bring positivity in your workplace culture. You need to be calmer than ever in situations where people will likely come in close proximity. If a colleague wants to return to work, post coronavirus treatment and is fit again, you need to welcome him optimistically. Avoid stereotyping and make them feel like they’re an essential part of the team. Make him feel a normal part of the team yet again.

Going back to work after Covid-19 may seem challenging or even scary. You must acknowledge the fact that things will change. The workplace culture will be revamped and there is nothing wrong in getting checked regularly. Try to be strong and remember that your and your colleagues’ safety comes first.

For more tips and advice on working safely during Coronavirus, check out our resources on the Zoek InfoHub.

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