After working remotely since March 2020, Juniper Networks recently welcomed 600 employees back to their Westford office to begin a hybrid work schedule. I had the privilege of contributing to their welcome back week activities with a Welcome Back Walk. The purpose of the walk was to reflect on the experience of working from home, discuss the transition to a hybrid schedule, and get to know their colleagues.

Juniper is situated in an expansive corporate park with sidewalks and greenspace. Using a predetermined route that was a little more than a mile, employees paired up and engaged in conversation using prompts that I provided along the way. The prompts were intended to spark conversation and collective reflection on the change in their work environment and schedule.

Reflection has many benefits. It contributes to self-awareness and new knowledge, which can lead to better decision making. It can help improve thinking and performance. When done as a team, reflection can help a group adapt to new circumstances, improve communication, and generate empathy. Encouraging your team to reflect together will most likely spark individual reflection.

Is your team going through a transition that would benefit from a structured reflection? Transitions may include the completion of a project, the end of a semester or academic year, or welcoming new team members. Team leaders can embed reflection into meetings, create a special event such as a retreat, or start a dedicated Slack channel. Clear, open-ended questions can get the conversation started.

Prompts for Juniper’s walk included:

  • What was a work-from-home delight?
  • What was a work-from-home mishap that you can now laugh about?
  • What did you learn about yourself while working remotely?
  • What is a hobby, activity, or habit that you picked up while working from home?
  • What is something you accomplished over the past year that you are proud of?
  • What part of returning to the office is causing you anxiety?
  • What do you need to be successful coming back to work?
  • How will you communicate what you need?
  • How did your team stay connected when working remotely?
  • How do you want to connect moving forward?
  • How will you show yourself and other kindness and compassion during this transition?

What is one small way you can encourage reflection with open-ended questions? Let me know what you come up with by adding a comment below, sending me an email at drkimburns@gmail.com or connecting with me on LinkedIn. You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter.

Have a great day!

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