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Transitioning back to work won't mean returning to a normal routine

As Tennessee starts to reopen, people will leave home and go back to work for the first time in weeks. But the normal they remember won't be what they return to.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — As Tennessee begins to reopen businesses, some people who have been working from home will be returning to the office as soon as next week.

When that happens, it's gonna feel weird.

"Change is definitive for the future. We can't continue to say we're gonna do things the way we've done them for years," said Misty Mayes, CEO of Management Solutions.

Mayes helps businesses across the country navigate change.

For those who work in offices, she said what they remember as normal won't be normal anymore.

"I think we're gonna have an opportunity to pull some best practices that we've been forced into and institute those in the future," said Mayes.

Things like video conferencing, which more people now understand and accept.

RELATED: US internet is well-equipped to handle coronavirus work from home surge

"Our engagement level is higher because people like seeing people's houses, they like seeing maybe their pets walking through, and I think when you're talking face to face it becomes more personal," said Mayes.

This also shows that a lot of customer meetings can happen online instead of in person, cutting back on future travel.

Mayes said businesses may also start changing their work spaces.

"Businesses are no longer going to be able to have these huge open spaces where they've got the masses all clumped in together," she said. "They're gonna have to have some safety precautions, so we may see a step back to more of the traditional office setting where there're individuals in individual offices."

But for right now, Mayes said business owners need to focus on three things: people, processes and technology.

"You can have the best procedures in place, you can have the best tools, but if your team doesn't buy into it and the community you're interfacing with doesn't adopt it, then it's a moot point," said Mayes.

RELATED: Gov. Lee: Tennessee's Safer at Home order will expire April 30, allowing most businesses to reopen

Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally of Oak Ridge and Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton of Crossville are meeting with Mayes this week.

They'll discuss smart ways to reopen and distribute funding.

Any businesses wanting help can join a free webinar with Mayes on Thursday, April 30 at 11 a.m. EST.

The webinar, "Transitioning Project Teams to Remote Environments," will provide managers and business leaders with key insights and best practices on how to transition to online environments and still remain productive and profitable.

Webinar panelists will include Dylan Jones, managing partner, Boldsquare, a multi-disciplined strategic communications practice; Paul Sponcia, CEO The IT Company, an outsourced IT support and services provider; Eric Patterson, site outage program manager at CNS Y-12; and Scott Major, division manager at Management Solutions, a senior certified project management and change management specialist. 

Topics include: 

•    Importance of communication with your team and how often

•    Technology capability and preparedness including securing your network

•    Reviewing current processes and proactively managing the changes

•    Mitigating negative effects on the organization and its people

To learn more about the webinar and to register, click here.

Registration is free and open to the public.

RELATED: Most of Pigeon Forge plans to open for business on May 1