As organizations re-open the office with a hybrid working model, this presents a chance for a meaningful reset. So much has changed since everyone was last in the office on a regular basis, and it’s important to set clear expectations for workplace etiquette. Not only will setting the ground rules ease potential anxiety about returning to the office, but it also ensures that the workplace experience will be productive, collaborative, and inclusive.
In-Person Code of Conduct
To facilitate a smooth office re-entry, share a set of suggested office etiquette that staff can reference. Use this as a chance to introduce etiquette for concepts such as a hybrid meeting. Overall, the idea is to provide some guidance on expectations for employees. The following are a few suggestions for how to approach defining hybrid office etiquette:
Respect all comfort levels while at the office. Some coworkers may be ready for mask-less handshakes and hugs, and others may prefer to keep their distance. Ask for clarification if you’re not sure about your colleagues’ preferences before interacting in-person.
Ensure to keep to the space that you’ve reserved. Using a meeting room that was previously booked by another team member or sitting at a different desk than the one you reserved impacts others and the plans that they’ve carefully made. Be considerate of your colleagues who booked their space in advance and keep to what you’ve booked. If you no longer require the use of an amenity, cancel your reservation so that a colleague has the chance to use it instead.
Make an effort to greet and welcome coworkers. Be sure to make introductions or offer a friendly greeting to those working nearby. The great reshuffle is ongoing: chances are that there will be some new faces in the office.
Just like before the pandemic, avoid using speakerphone, ringtones, or having loud conversations with coworkers in shared spaces. These same rules apply to joining virtual meetings from the office. Use headphones or book a meeting room – it will not only benefit the office environment, but also those attending the hybrid meeting. When you’re finished using a space, be sure to keep it neat and tidy for the next person. By being considerate of others, you will contribute to a great office experience for all.
Create a safe space at the office by avoiding controversial conversations on topics such as politics, religion, or even the pandemic. Be open-minded towards others and approach your coworkers with empathy. Speak up if you witness a circumstance where someone is being inconsiderate or not following company policies.
As well, alert your teammates when planning to work from the office to create a welcoming atmosphere. Or, use the find a colleague feature in your workplace management solution to coordinate collaboration. Especially if a co-worker is new, inviting your colleagues to collaborate at the office is a great step towards making the office an inclusive space for all.
It’s time to be reacquainted with sound security habits at the office. This includes asking for verification if you don’t recognize someone, locking your computer when leaving your desk, erasing the whiteboard in a meeting room, and proper disposal of sensitive documents. Be aware of where you conduct conversations – not only is it disruptive to speak loudly in common areas, but it could also pose a security risk.
Setting and sharing clear guidelines also includes what to do if the etiquette is not followed. Publish a process for staff to report if a colleague is not adhering to the agreed-upon ground rules. Let employees know to follow this process when reporting any issues. This way, expectations for everyone are as clear as possible.
The Office of the Future
To ensure safety in the workplace and a successful hybrid office, set clear guidelines for all employees. As more staff return to the office, update your best practices on a regular basis to accommodate any relevant changes. Consider running a pulse survey about the hybrid office to generate employee feedback about the in-office experience. Embrace the future of work and this opportunity to reset as a team to ensure that the hybrid office is an enjoyable place to work.
Joseph is the Nspace Customer Success Manager at Arcadis IBI group who is passionate about software implementation and support. Joseph brings his experience in learning and development, technical writing, software implementation and customer support, to work with customers to ensure they receive the tools and support to achieve their hybrid workplace goals.