After several months in lockdown and growing uncertainty about the future of the UK economy, many businesses are now beginning to integrate their employees back into their typical working environment.

In particular, leading banks across the country are putting plans for the safe return to work in action for a large number of their workers, including call centre employees and other operational staff members.

Although it can be suggested that banking offices are no different to any typical office environment, banks will have a pivotal role to play in economic recovery for many years to come, meaning it is crucial that they are operating as productively as possible.

From this month, industry leaders like HSBC and Barclays have both begun populating their London offices, with an executive at HSBC commenting: “We are going to help the economy normalise, so we, as an institution, need to get back to normality as well.”

While returning to the office is a step in the right direction, it is important to remember that we are still living through a pandemic, and that fear and uncertainty are still very much a part of everyday life.

To ensure that banking employees make their return to work as seamless and as safe as possible, we have put together three useful tips below.

1 Embrace the new normal

The phrase ‘new normal’ has been bandied around a lot over the last few months, and it appears that we are now beginning to see it put into action.

We have previously discussed wellbeing tips when working from home, as well as how to deal with stress and the uncertainty of change. For bankers who typically work in densely populated office spaces, normal things such as taking the lift or gathering in meeting rooms are going to be vastly different.

In addition, different employees are going to have vastly ranging viewpoints on things like best practices in the new workplace.

The key is to respect one another and embrace new processes and surroundings to make it easier for everyone through effective communication and consideration.

2 Continue prioritising virtual communication

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything about virtual communication and video conferencing, it is that meetings can adequately be conducted using digital mediums.

Particularly in banking, where employees would travel across the world to attend meetings and conferences, it is likely that we are going to see a permanent shift towards video calls and virtual meetings due to their efficiency and low cost.

In our previous blogs about virtual communication, we have discussed how to pitch and present with confidence as well as building client relationships virtually. Despite returning to the office, employees should continue to practice their digital communication skills as this will continue to form the basis of meetings for the foreseeable future.

At MDA Training, we are continuing to provide virtual training for leading banks across the world. Available either to enhance an existing programme or as a standalone solution, we focus on areas including early careers development, technical credit skills and pitching virtually. For more information, visit our training for the banking sector page.

3 Prioritise mental wellbeing

As banks enter the next phase of returning to somewhat normal working life, it can be easy for employees to feel anxious and nervous, both about their surroundings and the difficult few months ahead for the sector.

In the coming months, employees need to maintain a positive work/life balance, communicate any issues or problems that may arise and utilise the available support from within the bank. Without this, morale and productivity are likely to drop even if employees are back at work.

For leaders, ensuring that employees have the tools they need to succeed and are comfortable in their new workplace surroundings is crucial and may prove to be the biggest test of their management capabilities so far.

For more information on our employee wellbeing tips during COVID-19, please click here.