by Rachael Donnelly
Now that summer is upon us, it feels like there is a light at the end of the COVID tunnel.
As of May 2021, 34% of people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated* and cases have slowed in most states.
How will you be working this summer? Are you going back into the office or continuing to work from home?
There are definitely positives and negatives to in-the-office and at-home work environments, and many of us may be embracing a hybrid approach where we do a little of both.
The versatility to work from the kitchen, the living room, or the home office offers a surprising amount of fulfillment. In a global study across 10 countries conducted by office manufacturer Steelcase, people working from home valued greater work-life balance, more time for family, increased flexibility, and greater autonomy.*
On the other hand, there are certain aspects people miss about the office. We need our people, we miss our colleagues, and work is a fundamental way this desire for belonging and community is fulfilled. One thing is for certain, those opportunities we do have to gather safely together can be a huge boost to morale.
If your team will be returning to working in-person, why not organize an intentional welcome-back get-together?
Here are four ideas to celebrate your first days back with your work community.
Who says the party can’t start before noon? Set up a healthy breakfast bar or coffee bar to get the day started right. Build-your-own smoothie bowls with granola and fresh fruits can bring a boost to your team, or a coffee bar where people can try that Bullet-proof coffee we’ve heard so much about can add some pep to their morning step.
A personal note from the CEO is not only free, but can go a long way to encourage and unite a team.
You’ve come through a lot––it’s a great time to celebrate your team’s resiliency, determination, and wins over the past year. It might be tempting to move forward as if the strangeness is over and in the past, but realistically, we'll continue to see changes in the future. Reassurance and a warm welcome can do wonders, and having that message come directly from the highest-level really emphasizes how much every team member is valued.
Whether you choose to send a video the evening before or rally everyone together on your first day back, it’s a great way to connect everyone and set the tone for the future.
What about a few gifts to surprise and delight your team? A swag bag can be an unexpected day brightener. Here are some ideas that are guaranteed to please:
This one is definitely way outside the box, but has the potential for huge team-building benefits and memories they'll talk about for years to come.
Strategy, collaboration, communication, and just plain fun all converge while releasing your inner 10-year-old for a capture-the-flag style game.
Divide into teams and compete for a trophy. It could be just the thing to bring some laughter, silliness, and camaraderie to your office family after being apart for so long.
It’s not a stretch to think those benefits will carry over to your team, and bragging rights can be a powerful motivator!
Rachael Donnelly is the associate director of Spark operations in Cool Springs. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Harding University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Memphis. She has a background in Speech-Language Pathology and education, and brings that organizational experience to Spark. She has a love of serving people and an eye for detail. When she’s not serving Spark's amazing clients, she's enjoying iced coffee with cream out on the back deck with her husband and two sons, or possibly binge watching true crime shows.