Back to the Future: Preparing your Team and Workplace for the Realities of Covid-19

Critical Topic Discussion Group Series 2 Topic 1: Back to the Future – May 12, 2020

In response to our overwhelmingly positive feedback from our Series 1 participants, Einblau & Associates launched a second complimentary Critical Topic Discussion Group Series. The focus of this 3-session series is issues related to getting back to work while in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Topic 1 took place on May 12th. Our keynote speaker Mary Beth Gibbons RN, discussed best practices for a safe, yet productive workplace in the presence of Covid-19. Following the speaker, our attendees broke into smaller groups to go over a list of questions relating to the topic to brainstorm with their peers ways they can prepare their teams and workplace for the upcoming reopening.

Einblau & Associates is hosting 2 more Discussion Group Sessions on Critical Topics in a Crisis in the following weeks. For more information and to register for these sessions please click on the link:  Discussion Series 2

Below are some of the outcomes of session 1 including a graphic recording donated by Lisa Aurora from Get The Picture and a video recording of the session.

Discussion Summary


  • Teams are just starting the discussions on how to reconfigure the office for a return of staff to the office.
  • Challenging areas are meeting rooms and kitchen.
  • Considering using tape on the floor in cubicle areas, to give staff a sense of having a boundary where others require permission to enter.
  • Have noticed a ‘cultural’ difference between staff who have continued working in the office and those who have been working from home – they are using different norms and have different expectations surrounding distancing, use of masks, etc.
  • With reduced numbers in the office, their habits might have slipped a bit. As numbers in the office creep back up, some of the best practices have to be re-established.
  • A key point in making staff comfortable to return is ensuring that they don’t feel shame when expressing concerns about policies, behaviours, etc.
  • Also restarting for some teams is travel to work sites (camps) and international travel. This is now logistically much more complicated, requires new regulations/policies/quarantine periods (pre and post), and may lead to longer deployments due to additional overhead.
  • Staff have a spectrum of concerns/diversity of norms that need to be understood/respected.
  • Many have thrived while working at home and might struggle when back in the office. Some might have struggled at home and will do better in the office. There may be opportunities to ‘recall’ the staff that have struggled at home while allowing those that have done well at home to stay a bit longer.
  • New rules need to be followed by all. Although someone might not be worried about the virus and might find some rules unnecessary (and maybe they are), it will be important to adhere to the rules sometimes just for the benefit of those who might be more concerned.
  • This has been an interesting social experiment, especially for some introverts who have done really well working from home in some cases. Those same introverts might feel anxious going back to the office.
  • Being preoccupied can negatively affect productivity. Spend time finding out what staff are preoccupied with.
  • Don’t forget about our own feelings. What are we doing about our own health?
  • If some things are working in this ‘not normal’ method, maybe we shouldn’t rush to get back to ‘normal’.

Here is a great web page with very practical information and additional links/resources for employers called The Employer’s COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Playbook: LINK

Below is a video of Rachelle Lee, President of Einblau & Associates kicking off the session followed by our keynote speaker Mary Beth Gibbons.

Einblau & Associates hosted 2 more Discussion Group Sessions on Critical Topics in a Crisis
  1. Facing Grief & Loss Together: Creating a supportive work environment that holds space for the variety of losses staff may be experiencing from Covid-19 changes (loss of certainty, freedom, financial security, etc.).
    Wednesday May 20 9:00 am PDT | 10:00 am MDT | 12:00 PM EDT
  2. The NEW Realities of Management and Leadership: Share and gain insights about the pivots managers and leaders have had to make during this unprecedented time in their career.
    Wednesday May 27 9:00 am PDT | 10:00 am MDT | 12:00 PM EDT

Graphic Recording Created by: Lisa Arora from Get The Picture

Get The Picture captures a group’s key ideas – in text, images and colours – in the moment, during a facilitated group discussion. Their proven visual facilitation methods inspire dynamic and highly productive collaboration and lead to stronger decision-making and positive strategic action.

Get The Picture is now serving the world virtually and visually. That’s because they believe ALL meetings are better when they’re VISUAL. Their expertise includes:

  • Designing effective, interactive virtual meetings.
  • Visually facilitating virtual meetings.
  • Visually recording virtual meetings with a facilitator of your choice.

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