OTA Dispatch Issue 1, 2022

13 www.ortrucking.org Issue 1 | 2022 AS OREGON COVID-19 cases decline and mandates and restrictions are pulled back, many are contemplating what a full or partial return to the office will look like. While our drivers didn’t experience a true lockdown, some key team members may have moved to remote working. So, what are the next steps to returning to a more “normal” operating environment? Can we just flip a switch and everything will go back to the way it was? Most experts say no. Many who are contemplating a full or partial return to the office post-pandemic tend to think of employees in two opposite groups: those who are eager to return and those who are opposed. In reality it’s a bit more complicated. It’s important to recognize that some of the people who want to return to a shared workspace may still be uneasy and exhibit stress-related behaviors once back in the office. The health concerns or personal situations that resulted from a two-year pandemic don’t just magically disappear. The American Psychological Association reports that almost half of vaccinated adults are hesitant to return to in-person contact. As always, consult with your HR department and department leaders to establish the best plan that fits your business and your employees. *Source material: Harvard Business Review ¼ TIP 1: Be flexible and build a transition period into your return-to-office plan. Even if you’ve been able to connect virtually, that inperson interaction can be overwhelming after isolating for so long. ¼ TIP 2: (Over) communicate clearly. Uncertainty has been a constant companion throughout the pandemic. Make sure you provide detailed information about office safety protocols and expectations. ¼ TIP 3: Keep the lines of communication open. There will be questions and concerns. Set the stage for airing any issues and provide a setting to discuss the new context of shared work now that the team is returning to the office. ¼ TIP 4: Connect the disconnected. Employees who feel disconnected after a prolonged period of isolation can result in personal issues, but it can also affect work performance. Studies show that human connection helps people tolerate stress better. ¼ TIP 5: Understand the context. Many employees reconsidered their goals and priorities during the pandemic, with 25% considering leaving their job and 48% saying they prefer a hybrid model. Getting team members to engage with each other can mitigate retention problems. Host a lunch. Hold a teambuilding event. Find ways to foster that connection between employees. HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO CONSIDER