After more than two years of working from home, many employees are returning to the office this spring, often in hybrid mode. Managers find themselves with a new challenge: that of rekindling the sense of belonging within teams.

According to Éric Provencher, organizational psychologist at Humana Conseil, the model adopted by several organizations is that of a face-to-face return in a hybrid formula, i.e. two or three days a week in the office. “And ideally, when we can, we promote times when everyone is present, which will help the team spirit and promote the integration of new people,” he says.

It is important that this “in person” return is enhanced: if everyone comes to work, but the meetings are held on their own, in their small workspace, by videoconference, the interest will not be there. …and neither is engagement! “People are going to wonder what the decision to come back to the office is based on, what’s the rational behind it,” says Provencher, who points to this as one of the top criticisms made by employees.

In addition, it is good to remember that before the pandemic, teleworking did not exist… or very little. Few employment contracts include this accommodation.

A team has four functions, recalls Éric Provencher: it produces, it coordinates, it innovates and it wants to have a quality of life. It is these last two criteria that have been undermined since the start of the pandemic. “The criteria for returning to the office should be reviewed through these four filters,” says the expert. Studies highlight how collaboration, communication and the exchange of information are less good in teleworking. »

The key, according to Mr. Provencher, is to rekindle the fire of engagement by building on a strong sense of belonging. “It can be done on both sides, formal and informal,” he explains. Formal, by planning meetings where we talk about our common projects, we think together, we structure ourselves and we consolidate our links. And informal, through fun activities. It can look like a reunion and we can add a festive aspect to it, create momentum. »

He cites the organization of outdoor activities as an example. “With the nice weather coming back, why not plan a picnic?” “, he launches as an idea, stressing that this must be done during office hours.

Even though everyone, employees and managers, has been living it for two years, the adaptation is not over, far from it! “We are in a period of change, says Éric Provencher, organizational psychologist, it deserves to be recognized. We can even emphasize this by highlighting the positive side of these changes. »

Create small events, get involved in a cause, gather around a meal: these are just some of the examples of small rewards available to companies.

Despite the turmoil, the team needs to stay the course: they need to be clear about the company’s mission and vision, Provencher believes. “Each person should be able to transpose: ‘What is my role in this? Do I find myself there?” Organizations must help the team to find its identity and each individual, his well-being. »

https://www.lapresse.ca/affaires/portfolio/2022-05-11/societes-les-mieux-gerees/le-defi-de-raviver-le-sentiment-d-appartenance.php

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