I love what Kristi Hedges, ForbesWomen contributor, calls “the occasional office.” The title of her article, “Welcome To Your Occasional Office (Here Are The Rules),” reminded me of Ann Tyler’s book, “The Accidental Tourist.” That book included an alchemy of opposite characters experiencing the twists and turns of life, which sounds a lot like the last several months to me.

We’ve all been in the experimental mode voyaging through the twists and turns of life in unchartered territory for a long time. The experiment will continue as we learn how to reengage and return to the office, how often, and with whom. Remember that everyone on your team is still navigating the unknown in just about every area of their life and will be for the foreseeable future.

That’s where “and here are the rules” comes into the occasional office situation. Not only will clarity help your team relax, but clear expectations also help with productivity. Gallup’s research suggests that setting clear expectations may be the most foundational element of employee engagement.

As a leader, focus on the outcomes your team needs to produce. With those outcomes in mind, engage with your employees to decide your team’s workflow. Then, develop, publish and communicate (more often than once) clear expectations that answer:

  1. When am I expected to be in the office?
  2. How often will our team meet in person?
  3. How will the company support developing good working relationships that don’t necessarily depend on traditional “face time?”

Set the expectations for a specific period, coach your team to follow them, then allow space to revisit and adjust as required by internal or external conditions.

Check out Kristi Hedges additional suggestions here