Jeffery Perry explores what the new normal may look like as the return to the office begins.
People want to get back to normal as the world emerges post-pandemic, but this has different implications across aspects of life. Back to normal may apply in social situations like visiting family and friends, dining at restaurants, going to bars, attending sporting events, and enjoying live concerts. However, for people who traditionally work in office settings and who worked remotely for over a year, there is no rush to get back to normal. Employees state a desire for flexibility they experienced through the dark days of the pandemic. Businesses are navigating a next normal, a delicate balance of considering greater flexibility of how and where work gets done, needing employee productivity, wanting cultural connectivity, and ensuring employee retention.
The first mistake a business can make is to frame the dialogue as a return to work. This implies that people were not really working during the pandemic. Nothing could be further from the truth. People were often working more hours virtually, were highly productive, while managing school-age children in virtual school. The pandemic accelerated the potential of remote work with businesses pivoting on a dime to ensure commercial continuity. While technology-enabled, the resiliency of employees made the difference in an unprecedented period no one wants to relive.
The issue is really about a return to the office. The second mistake a business can make is to declare blanket return to the office mandates. In a study by global staffing firm Robert Half, 34% of professionals who worked remotely through the pandemic would look for a new job if required to return to the office full-time. Now that people have had a taste of greater remote flexibility and productivity enabled by technology, there is a desire to continue some of these features going forward.
Key points include:
- Blanket mandates
- Employee performance
- Time management
Read the full article, Next Normal Is Not Back to Normal, on LeadMandates.com.