Have you thought about what work life is going to look like after COVID is in the rear-view mirror? What is that going to look like for you, really? When work is back to the office, how does that make you feel and what emotions come up for you? It’s going to be interesting on the human behavior front on a couple of levels. Some of the issues we have anticipated and others we possibly cannot as things will move in a dynamic fashion.

One thing we are certain of is our need to re-connect after COVID! This is the primary purpose of this article. After many of us have been working from home and our office relationships have consisted of zoom and team meetings, the day of returning to the office full time is coming soon. When the return-to-work plans are in place, there should be emphasis on setting time to just chat, reconnect and build those office relationships.

What we have been missing in those zoom meetings is how we connect and build our relationships. We lose out on the non-verbal expressions and some of the side-humor that makes work fun. We miss the conversations and knowing what the other person has been up to or what’s going on in their family.

In your zoom meetings online, does anyone get up and write on the white board? How often have you spoke up on an idea when the speaker is writing ideas on a white board vs. when you’re in the online meeting space? My guess is there is a noticeable difference here and these are the things we’ve missed out on.

Considering what the world went through, we won’t actually know what our co-workers went through until we place a value on that connection and rebuild our work relationships. Here are some tips that can provide tremendous benefits when work returns to the new-normal.

  1. Wet Cement Stage – Much like when they pour the cement for a sidewalk, the cement can be shaped, molded or you can even write your name in the cement! The work life needs this time for the first few weeks to re-connect, mold those relationships, spend time at the water cooler, cut it up in the hallway and even engage in deeper conversations about life during COVID.
  2. Play a game as a team – taking time away from actual work to have an ice breaker or team building game can provide the essential environment to rebuild those bonds and infuse humor to the work life.
  3. Work with a Coach – Working on your goals and self-awareness is going to be essential for performance and development. The coach relationship is unique and powerful and can eliminate hurdles up front and shine the light on your blind spots. Talking about those emotions so you have an understanding of how to manage them can provide a ton of value in this environment.
  4. Spend time out at lunch – Time out of the office as a team is a great way to give the spreadsheets and programs a break. Having lunch together to talk about topics not including work, can build great teams and bonds going forward in a difficult environment.

We have all gone through a lot over the last year and a half. It’s important to take steps to show kindness and reconnect with others, as we reflect on the impact of what’s happened and get accustomed to what the future of work looks like.

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