It turns out that returning to normal...is a bit harder than we expected. Although some of us are beginning to transition into leaving the house, heading back to the office can be a bit of a challenge when social-distancing and hypervigilance for hygiene is at an all-time high.
Below we've put together an email template you can use to welcome your team back to the office to help them feel a little more safe and a little more excited. Copy and paste it, then adapt where you want to add in some of your own brand-specific culture!
Welcome Back Email Basics
Step one: give your team the proper head's up that they will be transitioning back to the workplace, in whatever capacity your organization has deemed most appropriate. Try to avoid last-minute notice and give them at least a few days to prepare.
Step two: as soon as you give them the news, send a more detailed follow up with what that will look like. People are, more likely than not, going to have a lot of questions about what that will look like and how it will impact them.
Stave off stress with an email that covers all of the important basics!
Check out the tips below for what we think you should include:
A Note of Appreciation
Let's face it: no matter how your team has been engaged during this pandemic, it's been stressful. Whether they've held down the fort on the front lines, made a couch fort while working at home, or fortified their family relationships on furlough, they've made a difference. Be sure to say a resounding thank you to your team.
Updated policies and process changes
Change is hard! But important, especially when it comes to the health and safety of your office. So whether you'll be moving work stations to increase the distance between colleagues, wearing PPE when not at your desk, or increasing your sanitization, it's important to communicate those expectations to your community. Not only will it make sure that everyone is following the procedures, but demonstrating that your office is taking everything seriously will help to calm any stress brewing.
Include a schedule for their first week back
Honestly, think of this more like an onboarding than a "returning to normal" situation. People will need time to readjust to the traditional 9-5 work routine, and giving them a schedule will help to soothe anxiety, establish expectations, and keep everyone happy!
Key Dates & Times
If you've got a group calendar, this is a great place to put this information. Or, simply print out some details for your team: the date they're expected to return to the office, any days that they shouldn't be in the office, and reminders prior to coffee refill/lunchtimes to remain 6' apart.
Make it Fun, While Being Informative
Don't forget to add the company flair that your employee is most likely craving thanks to their work from home status. Transitioning back to the workforce can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Having a casual and fun spin on all the nitty-gritty can help ease your team members' minds.
Three Ways to Add Fun to Your Email
1. Include a GIF!
Punny captions are also always encouraged.
Example: This pandemic may have felt like a NeverEnding Story, but we're so excited to get you back!!
2. Don't be afraid of a little humor.
We managed to find some pretty solid pandemic puns that we thought would apply. Include some light humor in your email update as a way to commiserate on some of the struggles of quarantine (and therefore, impending joys of the office!).
3. Take A Picture of Your At-Home Office (in anticipation of your REAL desk!)
Welcome Back Email Template
Subject: We Can't Wait To See You!
Hello [Name], good [morning, afternoon, evening]!
First and foremost: thank you! Thank you for being you, and for your part in the team effort that it has taken [Company name] during this uncertain and unprecedented time. From the bottom of our hearts, we truly appreciate the difference you've made - even if that was as simple as keeping yourself safe and healthy!
As shared, you will be returning back to the office soon! On [date] at [time], you'll be asked to head back to the building - and we're so excited to see you!
Your health and safety are paramount to us, so we've implemented some important procedures that will help keep our community feeling as good as possible.
[Input new procedures here: 6' apart distancing, new cleaning practices, mask usage, etc.]
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above practices, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly, or [HR representative's name and information].
As this will be a fairly big transition for all of us (I don't know about you, but I've honestly forgotten where my non-pajama clothes are stored...) please be sure to cut yourself and your coworkers a little extra slack as we all return to the new normal. To help with this, you'll find a little re-orientation schedule at your desk for the first few days back in the office!
Normally, returning to work after a break inspires a slight feeling of dread...but if you're feeling a more-than-usual amount of stress, you are not alone! Please feel free to connect if you have anything you'd like to discuss, I'm here for you!
And in the meantime, this is how I'll be practicing for my happy dance when we get to see each other in the office again!
Thanks and take care,
So that's our spin on things. Whether you copy/paste/send it, edit it heavily, or just steal our GIFs, we're not judging. But keeping your team connected and informed during this high-stress time is the best practice for keeping everyone happy and healthy!
If you're not back to full capacity, and you're looking for ways to stay connected with your at-home team, you can check out our post on how to keep your WFH employees engaged with these tips!