Google’s chief executive is planning for a workplace where many of its employees won’t return to work full-time.
In an interview, Sundar Pichai remarked that 62% of Google employees expressed an interest in returning to the office part-time following the Covid pandemic. Google will do its best to accommodate their wish as the pandemic winds down. He encouraged Google employees to work three days a week from home and two days from the office in an email sent to all employees.
Are we preparing for the future?
A new era of work is emerging after the pandemic. Organizations need to rethink strategies for workforce and employee planning, performance, and engagement.
Work-from-home was successful for many employers during COVID. Despite a rise in productivity at the beginning of the pandemic, HR leaders also noticed a decline during the period due to employees’ need for social interaction at work. Now, employers with a focus on building improved people management mechanisms and wellness resources started to engage in return-to-work initiatives within a safe environment.
It’s a dilemma, isn’t it? Let’s learn how to prepare for the next normal.
Take a flexible hybrid approach
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, work from home (one of the remote work practices) accelerated. That practice had already existed prior to the outbreak. As the Covid scenario is looking up, hybrid remote arrangements will become the norm rather than working from home or anywhere. Having said that, hybrid remote work arrangements might be useful, as they would allow for both geographical flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere. As well as helping teams come together physically, a hybrid approach can be used to foster social interactions in remote workplaces.
Engage employees in sincere conversations
The post-COVID era requires managers and HR leaders to know what types of changes employees want. In light of the pandemic, only their employees can explain how and why their organizations have changed. Employee preference can easily be surveyed. The whole truth must be known by leadership and managers, and a sincere, open, and public discussion must be held internally.
Being sincere, since they should be aware of the whole truth that prevents them from raising their voices can be a deterrent. Open, since they need input from a range of employees across their company. Keeping it internally public, because all employees need to know their organization authority cares enough to ask and is interested in the truth. In its own right, this will help build trust.
Invest in face time at work
As the post-COVID era unfolds, HR leaders recommend accommodating changes to work patterns. Despite the desire to return to in-person social connections at work, virtual employees have become accustomed to the flexibility that it provides, including reduced commute times and more time with families and pets. HR leaders want to ensure employees actually enjoy occasional visits to the office for a chance to connect with colleagues, but they will also maintain a flexible working schedule. In the post-covid era, HR leaders and managers must cultivate the same efficiency when scheduling meetings at the office, as well as creating time slots for random interactions, which are critical to fostering teamwork.
Be empathetic during times of stress
Life cannot be repaired to the way it was before COVID-19 one day. The post-pandemic transition looks slow and rocky, full of stressors and challenges, and we will all be forever changed by this experience.
As a result of the virus, some employees may have lost loved ones and return to work with grief. The pandemic could have left some employees suffering from mental health issues. Others may have struggled financially due to the layoff of their spouse. There are many more factors to consider.
Take trauma and burnout into consideration
Covid-19 has left employees in constant turmoil. Grief still lingers. It is possible that a number of your employees survived Covid. Over-communicating with employees and being truly transparent about what they know and don’t know is crucial for managers and leaders.
To ensure business continuity, take whatever decisions suit the business, taking the health and wellness factors of your employees into consideration. Employers should take steps to maintain a six-foot physical distance and completely vaccinate employees prior to allowing them back on the job site, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, or hybrid.
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