How to Navigate Reentering the Workplace

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Reenter the workplace

Businesses are reopening gradually, but once again, we are entering into the unknown. The White House has even issued "Opening up America Again" guidelines. Some issues will arise as we transition back to work. Some of these issues will be manageable, and some will be out of our control. For leaders, the re-entry into the workplace is another opportunity to lead in the unknown. 


Since the shutdown in March, Delivering Happiness has been offering Adapt and Thrive Webinar Series and complimentary Group Culture Coaching for our community.  


These opportunities have allowed us to listen to business leaders, and here the top questions we received: 

  1. How do we, as leaders, re-launch our work across multiple locations with some team members returning to the office and some still working from home? 
  2. How do we navigate the human elements of work right now? 
  3. What can we do if we are unable to meet our team's needs or our teams are unable to meet the needs of our work? 

 I had the chance to discuss these questions internally with my fellow coaches and compiled a lot of great advice into the top three realistic ways to navigate re-entering the workplace: 



Listening, really listening

As we transition to the brave new normal of work, the first action that I've observed from all great leaders is Listening. At DH, we began initiatives to listen to our team, to discover challenges and lessons learned to improve our internal culture.


Our Senior coach|sultant Ron told me listening is something many leaders forget to do. They struggle with the urge to problem solve [I am a frequent offender] instead of listeningAs humans, we want to be heard, seen, and loved. Listening is the key to increasing the happiness level of connectedness.  


A Simple Exercise our Positivity Strategist Paul taught us:

Invite a colleague to vent about something for 2-5 minutes. Fight the urge to coach or give advice, and simply listen. Even a simple exercise like this will enable you to build connections within your team. 


You will not feel pressure to come up with the right response. Your colleague will find it hard to continue complaining after a while, and their stress level will decrease.


To take this further, I would recommend investing 30-minute blocks of time with each team member to listen with a single goal in mind, to understand, not to respond. 


As a team, we listened to our greater DH community, and here are the top challenges our leaders are facing as they re-enter the workplace:  

  • Leading in uncertainty
  • Staying positive and productive [the winner during our last webinar
  • Engagement and alignment
  • Sustaining culture to what it was


Empower all to discover their superpower  

Our Happiness Orchestrator Shereen said one action all leaders can take as we return to the "new normal" is to look for our strengths and superpower and empower others to do the same. DH did just that as we saw all of our engagements canceled or postponed all at once. We began to ask, "What can we do to continue to serve our community?" 


We converted all of offerings to virtual platforms, created new services, and began working on exciting initiatives for the future. We hope to bring more value to our community to help overcome critical challenges brought on in this COVID era. In the past two weeks, my DH colleague Lilia took our annual DH Coaches Retreat online, instead of the original plan of meeting in Spain. We learned so much and were able to inspire each other. 


Exercise: Discover your strengths and the strengths of your team. As a quick exercise in a meeting, assign team members to write (1) one strength they see in a particular teammate and (2) how they can or have used that strength to make a difference in the team. This exercise can be completed in a public document because we don't always see our own strengths or the same strengths in others. Now, more than ever is the time to highlight your team's superpowers! 



Create a framework for resilience and happiness

Today's leaders must have high-level emotional intelligence to address their team's needs. They must have the ability to consider all positive and negative emotions while building resilience with the Science of Happiness. Sharing our purpose, pain, and values create steadiness and connectedness.


Now is an excellent time to check in with your personal values and purpose, your team's values, and your company's higher purpose. Your company's values may need to be adjusted or refreshed during these difficult times. There are still opportunities during difficult times, but you need a resilient team to see them through a pair of optimism glasses. 


Our Culture Chief Sunny Grosso created three cost-effective modules with our team of DH coach|sultants to help teams re-enter the new brave normal.   


  • Module 1.Adapt & Thrive for Leaders:

    Help distributed teams communicate and build trust while finding new paths to sustain culture, support productivity & engage teams while adapting to rapid changes
  • Module 2. Adapt & Thrive for Employees:

    Essential tools and processes to cope and thrive while working from home and returning to the workplace. Learn to structure the day with tools and build a community of support to thrive
  • Module 3. Adapt & Thrive Workplace Wellbeing:

    Managing emotions, reframing, building compassion, and practicing altruism 


These modules are available virtually and limited to 15-25 attendees depending on the module. Schedule a culture consultation to learn more about the benefits for your team and bottom line.



About the Author

Kelly Lei

Kelly is the happy growth activator at DH. With her 15+ years of lessons learned in engineering, sustainability, investing, business, education and non-profit, Kelly works with business leaders, especially startup founders, to level up their personal and team performance. She's also a venture investor passionate about creating a better future of work and a sustainable world.

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