The Difficulties of Returning to the Office
Returning to the office has long been a goal for many companies in various industries. Finally, this option is becoming far more realistic.
As much as organizations want to get back in the office to use their building space, facilitate in-person collaboration, and regain a sense of normalcy, doing so is not without its challenges. Several potential obstacles make it difficult to get back to the office.
Today, we’ll look at some of the biggest challenges to overcome when returning to the office.
Health & Safety
Simply put, bringing every employee back simultaneously can pose serious health risks. This is especially true for larger companies with hundreds of employees in one office building.
The best way to avoid transmission spikes and illness is to implement a phased approach. This may look different for each company depending on your industry, office space, and more. Ultimately, a phased approach includes several iterations of bringing employees back to the office.
Furthermore, you will need to consider other changes that help keep your team safe. Being mindful to prevent the spread of illness will not only help prevent COVID-19 but also other illnesses like the cold/flu.
Some ideas for employee health include:
- Altering hours of operations
- Implementing one-way traffic flow in hallways
- Contactless payment/entry
- Limits on number of people in a room
- More lunch slots
- Office equipment cleaning
Just be sure that any changes will still comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity laws, especially regarding returning to work.
Talent Acquisition and Retention
Let’s face it. Not everyone wants to be back in the office, and requiring people to come back to your workspace can affect attracting and retaining top talent.
According to a PwC Pulse Survey, 44% of employees want to work remotely at least three days a week moving forward. Many employees also talk about how they are willing to change jobs to maintain their work-from-home flexibility.
For this reason, companies that offer fully-remote or hybrid options do have a competitive advantage when it comes to talent. This does not mean coming back to the office is impossible, though. It would be best to focus on the support you provide to employees during the pandemic and any transition back to work. For example, mental health care resources, providing childcare, and other perks may help you attract and retain talent.
Going back to the office can have a severe impact on employees. A McKinsey study found that over 30% of employees experienced a negative mental health impact from returning to an in-person workplace.
When bringing employees back, organizations cannot overlook employee desires or wellbeing. Returning to the office may increase stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. People worry about social interactions, time lost on the commute, and more. It’s not only employee preference you should consider, but also how the return could impact productivity.
Here are some tips to help ensure employee wellbeing while returning to some form of office work:
- Ease into in-person events, don’t bombard people all at once.
- Allow employees to set boundaries related to COVID-19 and generally health/safety and plan any events accordingly.
- Ensure manageable workloads.
- Consider “meeting-free” time blocks or days so employees can work without interruption.
- Allow adequate recovery time to avoid burnout.
Balancing a New Work Model
The entire idea of “getting back to the office” does not reflect the reality for many businesses. For most, this does not mean having every employee on-site 5 days a week. In most cases, returning to the office means finding a flexible solution that meets employee desires, company needs, and external pressures.
Many organizations are opting for a hybrid model. Regardless of the specifics. Technology is critical. The digital transformation impacts how we work and live moving forward, which means businesses must have the right technology solutions. This is why over 50% of CEOs plan to increase their technology investments by 10% or more.
Teksetra Is Here to Help
No matter what work model you plan to have, technology will continue to be a critical part of it, and that’s where we come in.
Teksetra is here to help with our end-to-end technology solutions. We offer custom solutions in various industries, including corporate, education, financial, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. Learn more about how we can help your business as you transition to your new normal. Contact our technology experts for your personal consultation today.
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