Although most people didn’t like the isolation of 2020 there was a surge in workers who had a major paradigm shift on how they spent their time. They figured out that remote working contributed to their productivity and here’s why: no more 2-3 hour commutes, less distractions in the office, decrease in pointless meeting and on top of all that they saved money on gas, eating out, buying and dry cleaning professional work attire, and overpriced city parking spots. But the commute seemed to be the biggest gain for most Monday-Friday 8 to 5’rs. Not commuting has the added benefit of a little pay raise by simply saving between $4000-$7000 a year on fuel. Not to mention, more time with the family, friends, adopting new hobbies, or picking up old ones.
One survey in 2021 reported nearly 65% of employees want to continue to work remotely, 33% are leaning toward the hybrid option and only 2% want to return to the office. But here is a major labor force issue, 35% of workers said they would switch jobs if they were forced to go back to the office full-time. I spoke with HR personnel at a major hospital and they recently told a group of non-customer facing employees they will have to come back to the office full-time. The entire group said they would walk out if the hospital forced the issue.
What can employers do to create cohesiveness, continue productivity and promote wellness in a remote/hybrid world? The following are just a few ideas on how to promote success through change.
PEOPLE ARE NOT WORK MACHINES
Offer grace to yourself and your employees. This is not about accepting mediocrity. It’s about patients, prioritizing, and managing expectations.
LET GO OF HOW YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE IT
As things continue to change, so do the expectations. If you walked in to a company with fresh ideas that could make it even better and the company replied with “this is the way we’ve always done it and this is the way we are going to continue doing it,” would you walk out? People value flexibility more than ever. Many employees report they would accept less pay for more flexible hours.
Just because everyone has Zoom, doesn’t mean the all-meetings-all-day tradition should carry over to the remote/hybrid workplace. People want to know there is a purpose behind it. Time is a valuable commodity we don’t need to waste.
This is the time to rethink your company philosophy on meetings. Encourage supervisors to create meeting intentions, develop concise agendas, and stick to 30-minute timelines, if possible.
This is your opportunity to lift the hood on the employee handbook and give it a tune-up. Great opportunities to encourage friendly health competitions and team building remotely. They can track how many steps or miles each team gets a week and have a prize. There are plenty of fun, easy ways to build team comradery and promote physical health remotely. If you have read my other articles, physical well-being is the key to mental health and professional productivity and happiness.