In a recent article for HR Daily Advisor, Sarah Danzl, HR expert at upskilling platform Degreed, discusses the role of HR management and compliance in preparing a workforce for a return to office in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Degreed connects learning and career growth to business opportunities through one single, fluid skill-development experience, so organizations and employees are always ready to clear the next big obstacle. Sarah’s role as internal communications and client advocacy facilitator places her on the frontlines of dealing with the effects of the pandemic in very human terms.

Here are the 7 steps that she recommends every business should take to prepare their workforce for a return to office in the months to come.

How To Ease The Return To Office For Your People In 2021

1. Relook At Your Strategy

Is your business strategy in line with new working restrictions? Take a look at things like your office size and whether it allows for social distancing. You may have to consider a staggered return or new schedules that allow employees to work in shifts. Or how about allowing certain team members to continue working remotely if it suits your needs and benefits them at the same time?

2. Be Ready to Pivot Quickly

We are not out of the COVID-19 woods yet, and the weeks and months ahead remain uncertain. Be ready to respond rapidly to external changes by having systems and plans in place to monitor situational shifts. This may require a dedicated team who keeps an eye on and interprets international happenings, government guidelines, etc.

3. Foster Transparency

Open the lines of communication with your employees. They have to readjust to the working environment, which includes a new mindset about social distancing etc. Use the communication tools at your disposal to tailor an atmosphere of transparency at all times.

New Normal For Work

4. Tailor A Multifaceted Team

Now is the time to rope in alumni, contractors, freelancers, and other contingent talent to take the pressure off your full-time employees and to give your company the competitive advantage of staying nimble in a trying economy.

5. Rethink Business Practices

Reevaluate your go-to work practices to see which ones are still relevant. Could certain meetings be emails or video calls? Finetune your approach to save everyone time and effort wherever you can.

6. Support Your Team’s Physical and Mental Health

The return to office is going to be a difficult transition for everyone. Offer your employees support by providing basics such as PPE, as well as financial advice, access to mental health apps, the option of online counseling, etc.

7. Take A Look At Your Tech Tools 

Are there tech tools you need to empower a newly distributed and agile workforce? If so, now is the time to make the investment and pave the way for seamless collaboration.


The return to office should be handled with care in the months to come. Companies should reassess their business strategy, set up processes to respond rapidly, establish clear lines of communication, and build an agile workforce. Additionally, management should reflect on working practices, support their people, and evaluate their tech ecosystems. 

Read the full article here