Can we ever go back? Exploring the return to the office post COVID-19

Can we ever go back? Exploring the return to the office post COVID-19

In the wake of the government’s latest announcement, companies across England are starting to explore what office life might look like post COVID-19.

Many of our clients and contacts are sharing stories of how they’ve introduced new tools to enable remote working almost overnight – changes that would have in normal circumstances taken them months to roll out to their teams.

The big question for employers is just how do you go about a potential return to the office? Hint: it all starts with your employees.

It starts with your team

Do you know how your team feels about working from home? What they’ve valued or struggled with most? What’s making them anxious or excited about a return to a physical office? Before you spend too much time making plans, you need to understand the thoughts and feelings of your employees.

It doesn’t take much to gather this information – either adapt your existing pulse survey if you have one, or introduce a standalone survey asking people for their honest views.  

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Hold on to what’s working

Take the time to review how teams are adjusting to and using new tools such as Microsoft Teams or other collaboration platforms like Trello or Slack. How will you continue to make the most of this new functionality when you return to the office and perhaps are spending more time face to face?   Again, you can canvas opinion on this and make informed decisions.

Change is the only constant

It seems certain that we’ll be facing constant readjustments in all areas of society for some time to come.

Honest and frequent communication to your teams will be invaluable as you navigate this time together. Employees will be looking to leaders for reassurance and direction, and decision-makers need to know how their teams are dealing with the change so that they can plan effectively.


We know the value of effective communication and the power of understanding what your people really think. If you’d like some help, drop Emma a line on [email protected]

Head here if you’d like to know more about our internal comms services at Athene.