Back to the office - what do we do?
Over the past few weeks, many workplaces have gradually begun to re-engage with their colleagues in person. For many, this is a long-awaited reunion. For others, it feels like the beginning of the end of working from home. With any organizational change comes the responsibility to communicate with your team. Change is not always easy, but keeping employees involved, informed and empowered throughout the process makes a big difference in both the employee experience and the outcome of the change.
Return to Work Policy Considerations
There are several things to consider as you develop and communicate your “back to the office” policy:
- There is no longer any government requirement to provide arrangements for employees to work from home.
- According to recent polls, 75% of Managers want to return to the office 3 days or more, while only 34% of employees do. Be cognisant of this discord as you plan and do not expect that all people feel the same way.
- What was your policy/practice before COVID-19? There are some considerations to be given to what employees had prior to the pandemic.
- What do your employees want? Have you asked them? Consider surveying your employees to find out what they want. Be careful not to ask them something that you are not ready to give!
- Have you developed work practices or tools that work better now remotely? Keep what works about his shift in the workplace!
- Are there jobs that need to be in person vs. others? You do not need to have a “one size fits all” approach.
- What do you need to do to hire/retain people in today’s labour environment? Perhaps your “Work From Home” policy and tools be differentiators for you in the war for talent.
- Whatever your decision, communicate expectations, as well as your reasoning, clearly. Statements such as “We believe that our strength is based on the collaboration, teamwork and innovation that comes from people working together in person. We are therefore working towards full-time, beginning with 3 days at the office”.