People getting vaccinated and the more things open up, employers are faced with a new dilemma: getting employees returning to the office. Unless you were an essential work place, it’s likely that most companies had their employees working from home. This leaves many wondering how the transition back to the office will work.
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Society for Human Resource Management, said:
“Many employers have found telework during COVID to be successful for their organizations [but] people managers have seen a decline in the productivity gains experienced at the outset of the pandemic, citing employees’ need for the psychosocial elements of work. Savvy employers have found safe means for engaging in return-to-worksite with a focus on building better people manager mechanisms and resources for employee wellness.”
This isn’t to say that there won’t be any remote work being done. Working from home is likely to remain for many companies. This is especially so for departments like customer service and IT. For the rest, there needs to be a clear and organized strategy for transitioning back to the office. Ashley Cuttino, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Greenville, South Carolina, said the number one thing that employers should communicate is the safety of their employees and how the workplace will address this as people come back into the office. There are a few things to keep in mind when addressing the return-to-work strategy.
Key Issues to Consider for Return to Work Strategies:
Companies can argue that having employees return to work increases productivity and allows managers to check in and assess employee well-being and project progress. As Taylor had mentioned before, some companies have seen a decrease in productivity. Some believe that being in the office actually increases one’s productivity thanks to relationships with co-workers and collaborating in-person.
While there are definitely employees that like working from home, others have been feeling isolated and miss the camaraderie that can be found in the office. Even with all the technology that helps people connect, being around people in real life can not be substituted. According to a survey of more than 500 people, the company Seyfarth at Work found that a majority of people miss in-person workplace conversations, followed by the daily structure of reporting to a worksite. Also noted were lunches and happy hours with co-workers and reduced interruptions by kids.
In addition, Diane Welch, an attorney with McDonald Carano in Las Vegas, said:
“[Employees like] the convenience of [being at the worksite] with easy access to technology, equipment and supplies, which facilitates working faster and results in a better work product.”
If your employees have school-age children, then scheduling can get sticky. One benefit of working from home is that parents can work around their kid’s schedules; when they have to juggle their own work schedule and a school schedule, then it gets hard.
Lastly, all companies should be following CDC recommendations for bringing back in-person businesses and interactions. They constantly update their guidelines and they can easily answer questions regarding seating arrangements, or how to help employees keep six feet of distance, or what to do about masks indoors.
Thinking of these four different points will be vital to making the return-to-the-office strategy that much easier and smoother. Ask yourself how your company is going to address these issues. What can you do to address some of these issues? Signature Source is your resource for recruiting the most highly desirable talent and work as your consultant for organizational development solutions. We can help with some of these return-to-the-office issues. Check out our website for more information.
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