Revitalizing the Way We Work
Updated: Aug 30, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has already changed the way we work and live. We're constantly adjusting to this new landscape, and companies still face many questions and challenges as they determine new policies on where employees work (i.e., remote, on-site, hybrid).
Revitalization requires establishing new behaviors and norms at all levels of the organization. Your return-to-work policy will immediately impact your employees, recruiting, and retention efforts. You want to solicit input from all areas of the organization and determine the right policy for your company. Do you have a "one policy fits all," or is there room for flexibility depending on the area employees work in?
You will want to consider the following:
Employees have demonstrated that they can be even more productive working from home. You will want to identify if their job requires them to have a presence in the building. If so, how often?
Look at the demographics of your workforce. Each generation has different needs. If you have a workforce made up primarily of Millennials and Gen Z, they prefer to work remotely. If your company decides to return to a five-day 'in office' policy, what is the risk of losing part of your workforce? What impact will it have? Will you be able to replace them if they leave?
The other challenge companies face is fostering and nurturing the culture if some or all employees are remote. How do you develop internal relationships? How do you create a trusting team? How do you combat Zoom fatigue? How do you bridge a workforce comprised of "in-office employees” to "remote employees?"
What can you do proactively to attract and retain employees for departments that must be on-site (i.e., manufacturing, labs, etc.)? Can you condense their workweek to four days? Three days? Do you have a rewards program that creates a fun, competitive incentive? Is the environment uplifting and makes people want to be there? Do you have a cafeteria, and can you subsidize part of the cost of food?
Regardless of what's happening in the world, we know from our experience that change takes time. We have discovered that when companies consider the above questions, implement creative flexibility, create clear guidelines, and live their corporate values, employees are more engaged and committed, resulting in improved retention, performance, and results. The old way of doing business is just that, old. Companies must adapt to the new working dynamic and be creative in addressing business needs and engaging their employees in the process.
Here are other factors to consider:
Communication - Employees need transparent and consistent communication around many organizational issues – performance, vision, next tactical steps, etc.
Change Strategy - Since COVID-19, workplace change has been at an all-time high. The workplace is changing daily, and it is riddled with employee anxiety. Organizations need an ongoing change strategy to help employees navigate uncharted waters.
Etiquette - Organizations will draft robust policies to meet local and national regulations. But how should employees behave when they are on a Teams Call? What about when they are in the office, and their colleagues are being loud? Or how do they respond when someone is not wearing a required mask? Do they shake hands or not? Is there a different dress code when working from home? The list goes on, and employees need to know how to respond. Here's an article about office norms from SHRM.
Remote Work Policy - Evacuating the workplace abruptly and securing the ability to video conference all day does not mean that a long-term remote policy has been formulated. What happens next as people begin to re-enter and occupy? Does this change your IT policy and security policy?
Distributed Workplace - If your organization does not have additional real estate to accommodate all employees, shift work or a free address (a flexible seating arrangement where no one has assigned seats or desks) will likely need to be implemented as more employees return to the workplace. How will this be managed?
Culture Champion - Culture Champion - Loneliness, anxiety, and disengagement in the workplace cost businesses more than $154 billion annually in lost productivity according to Benefits Pro.
We know the journey back to a physical workplace will look different for everyone. Timelines are ambiguous, and best practices seem to shift every day. Most importantly, make your revitalization plan flexible for your organization.
Stratengy is here to help you navigate being a great leader in today's challenging environment. Stratengy offers six-month transformational team programs. We help you foster a collaborative and trusting team environment by utilizing the Disc and Five Behaviors Team Assessment. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you and your team be more engaged, resilient, and productive.