Conversations that Count: Leading Your Team Back to the Office

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One warm afternoon, I walked my dog around my neighborhood and saw a long line of people waiting outside of a restaurant to order food for takeout. This was in the quarantine peak, and the restaurant had set up social distancing markers and had their employees in masks and gloves, seeming to take proper safety precautions. 

Everything was calm and controlled until suddenly, a new restaurant employee walked out and announced that a second line would offer at another window. All patrons began swarming like bees trying to get into the new line or move up in the existing line to get their food faster. The restaurant workers went into a frenzy shouting orders at patrons to try and keep order and social distancing in place. In an effort to get food out faster, they created chaos and put their patrons in danger.

I was glad to walk past and avoid the mess, but it got me thinking. This miscommunication, last-minute decision making, and lack of rule enforcement led to confusion, panic, and unsafe conditions. If organizations make the same mistakes, similar chaos will break out as offices begin to reopen across the country. 

Now is the time to prepare and plan. As an Admin, you play a crucial role in helping communicate the steps your organization will take to safely and calmly bring everyone back together in the office. 

Communicate the plan to move back to the office often and in various ways. You cannot assume that one email or one meeting announcement will be enough for something this big. As you create and implement new company protocols and plans, help with this communication by using Bridge.

Do you have the information you need to explain? We recommend sharing it in a course where you can track completion and compliance, thereby confirming comprehension. 

TIP: Short answer quiz questions are a great tool to collect digital signatures, should you need employees to sign off that they read and understand crucial info. 

Empower managers to continue one-on-one meetings. Everyone experienced quarantine differently, and this transition will continue to post varying challenges. People managers need to be in touch with their team and aware of what is going well and any hurdles they are facing. This information should be tracked and communicated up the chain, if needed. Load suggested questions (like this sample list) for managers to use in their one-on-one agendas to help them collect the information you need about how the return-to-office plan affects your employees. 

Check-in on engagement. The transition to working from home affected employee engagement in different ways. Now is a great time to send an engagement survey and collect detailed feedback on how people feel about transitioning working environments and their managers (we even made the template for you). This information will help you decide what company-wide training initiatives to offer, what groups need more catered attention or support, and give you insight on your employees’ engagement levels before the transition back to the office begins. 

Finally, start the transition now. Whatever your preparation needs to be, start it early, so it’s less of a shock to your organization when (and if) the office doors reopen.

About Bridge: Bridge is a learning and performance management platform that provides learning and growth opportunities for managers and employees. Go to to learn more about how Bridge makes holding successful 1:1’s a seamless experience for both employee and manager alike.


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