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How to Leverage 1-on-1s when Planning your Workplace Reopening

Reopening your workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic presents numerous challenges. 
While logistics and safety are probably top of mind, it's also critical to recognize that your employees opinions will vary greatly based on their individual circumstances. Concerns about exposure to the virus, availability of childcare, and other personal circumstances will all influence an employee's perspective on returning to the workplace.

One way to get a more thorough understanding of your employees' circumstances is through survey data. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have launched surveys to gain quick insight into how employees feel about critical topics such as communication, their ability to work remotely, and work-life balance during this pandemic. These surveys provide a snapshot into how employees as a whole are doing and give leaders and managers the ability to dive into the data by demographics or team to target their action accordingly. Furthermore, asking employees for their input is an important way to keep your employees engaged at this time. 

Surveys are also a good option for organizations to use as they plan the eventual reopening of their workplace in order to gain insight into employee perceptions of safety and communication around the reopening plan. However, pulse surveys aren’t the only way to hear from employees as your organization plans to reopen its physical space. Managers should also be meeting with their direct reports individually to discuss the return to the workplace.

In particular, 1-on-1s should be leveraged for the following scenarios: 

1. When you want to dive in deeper.

Asking an individual how they feel about returning to the workplace gives you a deeper sense of their personal feelings and concerns and whether your organization or you as a manager can help address them. Even if employees share their viewpoint in an attributed pulse survey, it’s still valuable to better understand their point of view by discussing it one on one. 

2. When it's worth a conversation. 

The status of your employees’ summer childcare situations is important to understand as you plan your reopening, but a personal conversation helps a manager and employee discuss options, understand what level of flexibility is needed, and come to a solution that works for both parties.

3. When sensitive topics will be discussed. 

 Discussing topics such as concerns about exposure and pre-existing conditions can feel "cold" to measure in pulse surveys without the ability to show care in real-time.


Example 1-on-1 Topics and Questions for Managers


  • How do you feel about returning to the office? What concerns do you have?
  • Are there any additional materials, training, or personal safety equipment that you need to feel safe at work?

For organizations offering flexibility to employees or staggering their return to the workplace, also consider the following:  

  • Would you like to continue working from home at this time?
  • Are there any obstacles (such as lack of adequate childcare or safe public transportation) that would need to be solved in order for you to return to the office when we reopen?


  • Is there anything I as your manager can help you with? Are there ways that our team as a whole could better support you? 
  • Is there anything our organization could do to better support our employees?

Continuous Improvement:

  • What’s one process or practice that you’d like to see our team or organization continue after we return to the office?
  • What’s one process or practice that you’d like to see our team or organization revise or stop after we return to the office?

Want to start using 1-on-1s? Contact your Customer Success Manager for assistance!