How to Reignite Workplace Culture After Return to Work Orders

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The transition back to the office after a period of remote work can be met with mixed emotions from employees. For many, the comfort and flexibility of working from home have become a cherished routine. Suddenly, the return-to-work orders can feel like an unwelcome disruption.

Imagine starting your day casually, sipping coffee in the comfort of your home office, only to receive a text message that changes everything. This scenario, while fictional, reflects the reality faced by many professionals today.

Embracing Change with Empathy

If you’re a leader navigating this transition, it’s crucial to approach it with empathy and understanding. Here are three effective strategies to help reignite workplace culture after return-to-work orders:

1. Have Open Communication and Conduct Active Listening Sessions

Creating avenues for open communication is key. Organize forums or sessions where employees can voice their concerns, ask questions, and offer suggestions regarding the return to the office. Actively listen to their feedback, validate their concerns, and address uncertainties transparently. Demonstrating genuine care fosters trust and a sense of support among the team.

2. Have Flexible Work Arrangements

Recognize that returning to the office might pose challenges for some employees. Where feasible, offer flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid schedules or remote work options. Empower your team to manage their time effectively, allowing them to balance work and personal responsibilities. Trust in their ability to deliver results regardless of their physical location, promoting autonomy and accountability.

3. Reconnect and Reinforce Company Values

Use this transition as an opportunity to reaffirm your organization’s values and purpose. Emphasize the collective mission that unites everyone. Plan team-building activities, workshops, or retreats that promote camaraderie, collaboration, and a sense of belonging. Celebrate individual and team achievements to reinforce a culture of appreciation and mutual support.

Taking Action

If these ideas resonate with you, it’s time to take action. Visit my website to download my free Caring Leadership Kit, which includes practical tools to support your leadership journey.

Creating a culture of belonging requires continuous effort and adaptation. Stay tuned for more insights on fostering positive workplace environments.

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In this podcast episode, we delve into strategies for employees facing the return-to-office mandate. Many workers are grappling with the sudden shift from remote to in-office work. Management and the company must learn how to handle this well because many employees are unhappy with this decision. We discuss three essential approaches: promoting open communication and active listening sessions to address concerns with empathy, advocating for flexible work arrangements such as hybrid schedules to accommodate diverse needs, and reinforcing company values through team-building activities and recognition of achievements.


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About Heather R Younger, J.D., CSP

Heather R Younger, J.D., CSP is a highly sought-after speaker, 2x-TEDx speaker, diversity, equity and inclusion strategist, and contributor to leading news outlets. She is also the Founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix, a leading employee engagement and consulting firm. After over 25,000 employee engagement surveys and years of working with organizations to transform employee engagement, here’s what Heather has seen over and over: When you know how to listen, employees will tell you exactly what they need to bring their full selves to work. Book Heather to speak at your event or organization.

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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

“Heather’s courage and vulnerability to share her authentic self are truly inspiring. She shares the most cutting-edge leadership strategies on topics like emotional intelligence and employee experience. If you’re looking to sharpen your leadership skills, this podcast is for you.”

Heather is a Workplace Culture Expert


CEO of Employee Fanatix

A leading workplace culture and employee engagement consulting & training firm.

A highly sought-after keynote speaker

Bringing the best insights from over 25,000 employee stories to the stage.

A top company culture strategist

An expert in creating spaces for these vital conversations.

A contributor to leading news outlets

A trusted expert for stories on workplace culture, customer and employee engagement, and employee retention.


The Cycle of Active Listening

Create a listening culture that elevates the workplace experience for everyone.

Through this guide, uncover how to ensure those in your care at work feel heard and valued, resulting in increased loyalty and satisfaction.

  • Understand why listening is the key to improved engagement
  • Learn how the Cycle of Active Listening contributes to strong workplace relationships
  • Get a practical framework for creating a listening culture that is bidirectional, responsive, and supportive

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